The five men jailed for sexually abusing an 18-year-old woman at the running of the bulls festival in Pamplona two years ago are to be released on bail of €6,000, according to reports.
The case, known as the “wolf pack” trial because of the name the men used in their WhatsApp group, caused a national outcry after the defendants were acquitted of rape.
The case was widely seen as a cross-examination of the 18-year-old woman rather than the men who attacked her. The proceedings were criticised after the judges accepted into evidence a report compiled by a private detective hired by some of the defendants. The detective had followed the woman over several days and produced photographs of her smiling with friends.
This was used to suggest she had not suffered any lasting trauma, prompting hundreds of women to demonstrate outside court holding signs reading: “We believe you, sister.”
Defence lawyers claimed the woman had consented and had let one of the men kiss her. They also said that 96 seconds of video footage from the men’s phones – showing the woman immobile and with her eyes shut during the attack – constituted proof of consent.
The prosecution said the victim had been too terrified to move. Al final de la manifestación, decenas de manifestantes han protagonizado una sentada frente al Congreso de los Diputados en Madrid.
“The defendants want us to believe that on that night they met an 18-year-old girl, living a normal life, who, after 20 minutes of conversation with people she didn’t know, agreed to group sex involving every type of penetration, sometimes simultaneously, without using a condom,” the prosecutor Elena Sarasate said.
The verdict was criticised by many senior politicians, including Pedro Sánchez, the leader of Spain’s socialist party who recently became the prime minister.
“She said NO,” he wrote on Twitter at the time. “We believe you and we’ll keep believing you. If what the ‘wolfpack’ did wasn’t group violence against a defenceless woman, then what do we understand by rape?”
News of the men’s release prompted women’s groups to call protests in cities including Pamplona, Madrid, Zaragoza, San Sebastián and Barcelona on Thursday and Friday.
Laura Berro, the equality and LGBTI councillor at Pamplona’s city council, said the court’s latest verdict was proof of the patriarchal nature of justice.Cientos de personas se concentran en Madrid al grito de “Tranquila hermana, aquí está tu manada”.
“It’s shocking,” she tweeted. “But we will not shut up or be paralysed.”