Barcelona’s district attorney’s office has announced it will appeal the verdict and sentencing of five men on a charge of sexual abuse handed down by a district court for the gang-rape of a 14-year-old in the Catalan city of Manresa in 2016.
The case marks the second time in recent history that men involved in gang rape in Spain have been convicted in a gang-rape case on a lesser charge of sexual abuse, rather than aggravated sexual assault, which carries a harsher sentence and additional jail time.
A lower court in Barcelona convicted the five men last week on charges of continuous sexual abuse for having taking turns raping the 14-year-old, who was unconscious under the influence of alcohol and drugs during her ordeal. Precisely because the young woman was not conscious and could not therefore refuse consent to her rapists, the court ruled that the men did not rape her against her will and therefore were not guilty of aggravated sexual assault.
The Barcelona prosecutors office says it will appeal the case because it believes the men should be sentenced in line with the Spanish Supreme Court ruling in June in a similar case in which five men raped a woman during Pamplona’s annual running of the bulls festival in 2016. In that case, the Supreme Court overruled a Navarre lower court’s verdict and sentencing for sexual abuse, convicted the men on charges of aggravated sexual assault and imposed harsher jail sentences for their crime.
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