Supreme Court increases sentence in high-profile 'wolfpack' sex case

Women's groups celebrate at the Supreme Court after the verdict.
Women's groups celebrate at the Supreme Court after the verdict. / EFE
  • Campaigners for women's rights celebrate as the six men from Seville, who were free on bail, are arrested and sent to prison for 15 years

The Supreme Court has changed the initial trial verdict in the high-profile 'La Manada' (wolfpack) case and increased the sentence. Its decision last Friday brought widespread public praise, especially from women's rights groups.

The six friends from Seville who had been accused of repeatedly sexually attacking a woman in July 2016 during the San Fermín festival in Pamplona, northern Spain, were each given 15 years. One of the men will face extra time in jail for stealing the victim's mobile phone.

The original sentence after the men's trial in Pamploma made headlines for stating that the lesser offence of sexual abuse applied. The decision was upheld by a local appeal court last year, although the judge's panel had been split over it.

There were widespread street protests at the time and outrage at the apparent leniency of the sentence.

The Supreme Court has now overturned the original verdict. In its explanation of the decision, the Madrid-based court argued that the men were lucky not to have had each attack treated separately and have had their sentences lengthened to 150 years each.

The case centred on the friends who had labelled themselves 'La Manada', wolfpack in English, in a WhatsApp group ahead of visiting Pamploma. They came across the 18-year-old woman in the street late at night before going with her into the doorway of a block of flats.

Mobile phone recordings were made by the men which were used as evidence. The Supreme Court said the victim had been too terrified to shout out while the attack took place, adding it felt that violence and intimidation had taken place.

Once the revised verdict was announced, the six men, who had been free on bail, were arrested.