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SEXUAL ASSAULT

Victim of Pamplona gang rape did not consent verbally, admits first of the accused

2016 assault at Running of the Bulls has underscored safety issues and galvanized public opinion

La Manada
A protest outside the Pamplona courthouse on Wednesday.

The first of five suspects accused in an ongoing gang rape trial in Spain has admitted that the victim did not expressly consent to sexual relations.

A Pamplona court is trying a case that made world headlines after five men in their twenties were accused of raping an 18-year-old woman and recording the assault with their cellphones during the 2016 Running of the Bulls.

Around 500 people demonstrated outside the Pamplona courthouse on Wednesday

“When the prosecutor asked how the victim expressed consent, he did not know what to say,” said Carlos Bacaicoa, who represents the private prosecution.

The accused have so far claimed that the young woman consented to having relations with all five of them. Defense lawyer Agustín Martínez Becerra, who represents three of the accused, said that there are ways to express consent other than verbally.

Martínez Becerra said that his clients are “tense” because they could be facing 25-year prison terms if found guilty. One of them was a member of the Civil Guard and another one is in the army. All five of them hail from Seville, and are being collectively referred to as La Manada, which can be translated as “the pack.”

When the prosecutor asked how the victim expressed consent, he did not know what to say

Carlos Bacaicoa, lawyer

The high-profile case has galvanized public opinion, especially after it emerged that private detectives followed the victim after the alleged attack and tracked her online activities in an apparent bid to demonstrate that she was not deeply affected by the incident. The report has been admitted as evidence by the court.

Around 500 people demonstrated outside the Pamplona courthouse on Wednesday, carrying signs with the messages “No is no” and “Sexual violence is sexist violence.”

On Tuesday, the victim 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.

The case prompted Pamplona officials to roll out greater security measures at the popular week-long Sanfermines celebration.

English version by Susana Urra.

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