November 29, 2023

A convicted rapist from Spain’s notorious ‘wolf pack’ has had his sentence reduced in a court ruling that has caused political outrage.

Angel Boza, one of five men who gang raped a woman, 18, during the Sanfermines festival in Pamplona in 2016, will serve 14 years rather than the original 15.

The reduction in his sentence stems from the Socialist-led government’s ‘yes means yes’ consent reform, which has seen prison terms inadvertently reduced for around 1,000 sex offenders.

The reform unified two crimes – sexual aggression and the less serious sexual abuse – into one under a single concept of rape.

The definition of rape is penetration without consent, but its minimum sentence is lower than that of the sexual abuse.

Hundreds of rapists released early

The ‘yes means yes’ reform was touted as a key feminist reform but the government was forced to amend it earlier this year, with hundreds of rapists being released early from jail.

Despite the amendment, all those convicted of sex offences before this year can ask for a reduction in their sentences.

Alberto Núñez Feijóo, leader of the conservative Popular Party (PP), said: “This government says it is feminist and then we see sentences like this and realise it’s just a slogan.”

Mr Feijóo, whose party is struggling to form a parliamentary majority to oust the prime minister, added: “Pedro Sánchez has too much arrogance and not enough humility to admit his mistakes.”

Mr Sánchez has previously apologised for the law’s “undesired effects”.

The PP and other opposition and feminist organisations repeated calls for the resignation of Irene Montero, the equality minister.

‘Painful, especially for the victim’

Ms Montero was behind the reform that provides new levels of assistance to rape victims, bans the advertising of prostitution and makes sexual education obligatory in schools.

Ms Montero criticised the Navarre court’s decision, taken by a two-to-one majority of judges, calling it “painful, especially for the victim”.

The crimes of the self-styled ‘wolf pack’ became national news when in 2018 a court found them guilty of sexual abuse but dismissed the more serious accusation of sexual aggression, or rape, claiming neither violence nor intimidation had been used.

Tens of thousands of feminists took to the streets across Spain to express outrage and sympathy with the victim, who had told the court she had frozen in fear when the five pushed her into a dark alcove and filmed themselves raping her.

The men were eventually convicted of rape in 2019 by Spain’s Supreme Court and handed sentences of 15 years, instead of the nine-year terms they had been given for the lesser crime of sexual abuse.

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