Hundreds of people protested across Spain on Wednesday after a Spanish court upheld a sexual abuse conviction and nine-year prison sentence for five men who attacked an 18-year-old woman, but again acquitted them of gang rape. It said there had been no proof of violence, and that it was too hard to discern whether intimidation had taken place given the lack of obvious show of force or threats towards the victim.
In Wednesday's ruling, the five Navarre supreme court judges said they had made a decision to unanimously reject the defendants' appeals and backed the provincial court's conclusion that the victim's testimony was true.
The case, has attracted widespread worldwide attention in light of the global #MeToo movement that has catapulted sexual abuse and mistreatment of women into the spotlight, occurred during the annual San Fermin bull-running festival in the Navarran capital Pamplona.
The ruling, which can now be appealed in the Supreme Court, saw the men released on bail in June on a legal technicality that says no one can be held for more than two years without a definitive sentence being handed down.
The ruling shone a light on Spanish law, in which the offense of rape requires evidence of physical violence or intimidation.
The two other judges did not agree, giving a dissenting opinion in which they said the act "must be penally classified as a crime of sexual aggression", which includes rape.
Significantly, two of the five judges said that the attackers had used intimidation to carry out a "continuous offence of sexual assault" and called for 14-year jail terms.
The case sparked such a wave of revulsion that a committee of experts was formed to reform Spain's penal code on sexual violence. They also argued that 96 seconds of video footage from the men's phones - showing the woman immobile and with her eyes shut during the attack - was proof of consent.
"We don't like it", the teenager's lawyer said after the ruling, the BBC reported.
What did the "wolf pack" do?
Why is intimidation so key?
The judge at a court in Navarra confirmed nine-year prison sentences for the men - who called themselves "The Wolf Pack" and joked about the 2016 incident in a Whatsapp group - for the lesser crime of sexual assault.
But, crucially, the ruling states that abuse of a situation of manifest superiority does not itself constitute intimidation, nor was any act of violence committed.
The ruling describes the victim's role as one of "passive suffering" but finds no firm evidence of acts or threats created to intimidate her.
The five men led their 18-year-old female victim to a basement where they each had unprotected and non-consensual sex with her. Many of those demanding such reform argue the definition should be based on whether consent was given to having sex.