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SEXUAL ASSAULT AT THE RUNNING OF THE BULLS

Judge in Sanfermines rape case accepts private detective report on victim

The behavior of the 18-year-old after the alleged sexual assault by five men was analyzed, as well as her posts on social media

Agustín Martínez, the defense lawyer for three of the accused.
Agustín Martínez, the defense lawyer for three of the accused. EFE

The trial over an alleged gang rape during the 2016 Running of the Bulls in Pamplona entered day three on Wednesday, with testimony from police officers who aided the victim.

Five men in their twenties are accused of assaulting an 18-year-old woman and recording the incident with their cellphones.

The case made world headlines and prompted Pamplona officials to roll out greater security measures at the popular week-long celebration.

Private investigators tailed the victim and tracked her online activity

This year, local authorities introduced a raft of measures to prevent new assaults, including a city map showing the spots where women may feel less safe during Sanfermines.

At the Wednesday hearing, police officers stated that they found the young woman in a state of shock, and did not get the impression that she was faking.

On Tuesday, the victim had told the court that the reason she did not have significant injuries after the rape was not that she failed to fight her attackers, but rather that she went into shock.

Her testimony, and the seven videos that the accused made of the attack, are the key pieces of evidence in a case that will extend until November 24.

A scene from day one of the 2017 Sanfermines in Pamplona.
A scene from day one of the 2017 Sanfermines in Pamplona. AFP

The judge has also accepted as evidence a report by private detectives who were hired by one of the defense lawyers to tail the victim in the weeks following the incident. The initial report submitted to the court – and accepted by the judge as evidence – was based on the tracking of the victim during one weekend, as well as analysis of her social media posts. They also studied recordings from security cameras in her area of residence, in Madrid. They subsequently added another post on social networks of a celebratory measure that the victim had shared. The motive cited for the surveillance operation was to analyze the behavior of the victim after the alleged crime.

Agustín Martínez Becerra, the defense attorney for three of the accused, has talked to the press on each of the three days of the trial, and said that criticism about the fact that the judge accepted the detective report is “part of some kind of campaign to cast doubt on the court’s impartiality.”

On Wednesday, Pamplona municipal agents told the court that they answered a call made to the emergency services by a couple who were walking down the street and found the young woman crying on a bench, on the corner of Paulino Caballero street and Roncesvalles avenue.

When they arrived at the scene around 3.30am, their appraisal was that the woman’s condition was compatible with that of someone who has just been the victim of sexual assault. She was then transferred to the local hospital for a checkup.

A couple called the emergency services after finding the young woman crying on a bench

Also on the witness stand were three members of the regional police force who identified the alleged aggressors thanks to the victim’s description and security camera footage.

According to the police, the accused did not resist requests to show their ID. One of them was a member of the Civil Guard and another one is in the army. All five of them hail from Seville.

Miguel Ángel Morán, the lawyer representing the victim, said on Wednesday that he is “satisfied” with the way the trial is developing.

English version by Susana Urra.

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