A SPANISH court has heard the final arguments in the trial of five men accused of gang raping an 18-year-old woman during Pamplona’s San Fermín bull-running festival in 2016.
The trial shocked Spain and sparked demonstrations against violence against women.
The five men, aged from 27 to 29 and from Sevilla, say the woman consented to sex but the prosecutor denies that and says violence was used.
One of the accused is a Guardia Civil police officer.
Women’s groups have criticised the judge over his decision to allow evidence to be presented about the alleged victim’s personal life and character from a private detective but not permitting the inclusion of WhatsApp conversations between the accused in which they allegedly discussed plans to rape women.
Police investigators searching through conversations prior to their journey from Sevilla to Pamplona found mention of the need to procure date rape drugs and ropes, “because when we get there, we’ll want to rape everything we set eyes on”.
The private detective’s report on the young woman, commissioned by one of the accused, was compiled by spying on her and monitoring her social media accounts. Two weeks into the trial, the defence decided to withdraw the file as evidence.
Prosecutor Elena Sarasate said that “sexual aggression had been fully proven,” pointing out that the gang had stolen the woman’s mobile phone, allegedly to prevent her from calling police immediately.
The prosecutor is asking for sentences of 22 years.
The defence argued that at no time did the woman protest or shout. He said the five “may be genuine imbeciles,” but were also “good sons.”
Spanish media reporting, focusing heavily on the alleged victim’s credibility, has been criticised.
One major TV network ran a Twitter poll asking the public if they believed it was a rape or consensual sex.
The case also gave rise to an “I believe you” social media campaign in which women supported the alleged victim and criticised the handling of cases of sexual aggression.
Demonstrations in support of the woman were also held in several Spanish cities.
The judge will issue a verdict in the coming weeks.