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MADRID Reuters - Five men convicted of sexually assaulting a young woman at the Pamplona bull running festival in were released on bail on Friday, re-igniting outrage over the case which has led to mass protests calling for tougher punishment of sex crimes. Both the perpetrators and the victim are appealing the nine-year prison sentences, meaning the convictions are not final. A court in the northern region of Navarra decided to free the men after two years in custody, while they await a final sentence, arguing that there was little chance of repeat offences.
Two years tends to be the limit for provisional imprisonment in Spain. Protests were held on Friday outside the justice ministry in Madrid and other cities. Images of the five men, wearing the white t-shirts and red neck-scarves of the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, have been splashed across newspapers and websites.
The state prosecutor had originally asked for sentences of more than 20 years each for rape, which in Spain requires a plaintiff to present evidence of specific violence, such as being threatened with a knife or dealt physical blows. New Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has promised to provide training for judges in gender equality, one of a series of socially liberal projects for which he is likely to get parliamentary support despite heading a minority government.
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