Five men were acquitted from a gang rape case involving a 14-year-old victim causing an uproar in Barcelona.
The court had ruled out rape, as a primary charge, as the the victim didn’t fight back as she was in an “unconscious state.”
A court in Barcelona cleared five men of sexual assault charges on Thursday after saying the crime did not fit the legal definition of rape because the unconscious teenage victim didn't fight back. https://t.co/ODxEevD5he
— CNN (@CNN) November 1, 2019
The girl’s unconscious state didn’t fit an outdated legal definition of rape.
All five men, however, were handed lengthy prison sentences between 10-12 years behind bars.
Had they been convicted of rape, their sentences would have been extended to 15-20 years.
A review is currently taking place in Spain to address and close the loophole which saw the gang-rapists receive a lesser sentence.
Several European countries have rewritten their laws on rape, defining the offense as a clearer cut ‘sex without consent.’
According to the BBC:
The five men were found guilty of abusing the girl during a drinking session known in Spanish as a botellón at a disused factory in Manresa, a town in the north-eastern region of Catalonia, in October 2016.
Prosecutors told the court the men – two Spaniards, two Cubans and one Argentine – took turns to attack the girl, who was under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
One of the defendants, named only as Bryan Andrés M, was said to have told each of them: “It’s your turn. Fifteen minutes each and no delay.”
At a previous court hearing, the girl said she remembered very little of what happened but that one of the men had been brandishing a gun.
All the defendants denied the allegations, although the DNA of one of them was found on the girl’s underwear.
The case has sparked much public outrage with women’s rights groups calling for protests to express their anger at the ruling.
Barcelona’s mayor, Ada Colau, took to Twitter to give her take on the case which has rocked the country:
“I am not a judge and I do not know how many years in prison they deserve, what I do know is that it is not abuse, it is rape!”
The Guardian reports that the victim was awarded €12,000 (£10,300) compensation for the attack which the court called “extremely intense and particularly degrading.“