Anger as five men acquitted of gang-raping teenager in Spain
1 Nov 2019
A Barcelona court's decision to acquit five men accused of gang-raping a 14-year-old girl of the charge of sexual assault has provoked outrage.
The court ruled out rape because the victim was in an 'unconscious state' and the accused had not used 'violence or intimidation'.
This is a requirement under Spanish law for a charge of sexual assault, which is legally the equivalent of rape.
Instead, they were convicted and jailed for the lesser crime of sexual abuse.
The five were sentenced to between 10 and 12 years in prison. A conviction for sexual assault would have carried prison sentences of between 15 and 20 years.
A review is currently taking place in Spain to decide whether to base rape cases on a woman's explicit consent to sex.
A number of European countries have changed their laws in recent years to define rape as sex without consent. Sweden changed the law last year and Denmark is doing the same.
The Barcelona verdict comes despite a ruling in a similar case by the Spanish Supreme Court upgrading a conviction from sexual abuse to sexual assault.