The group is known as the “wolf pack,” named after a WhatsApp chat where they bragged about the assault.
Thousands of protesters flooded the streets in cities across Spain after a court failed to convict a group of men for the gang rape of an 18-year-old girl during the Running of the Bulls festival in 2016.
Instead of convicting the five men of rape on Thursday, a three-judge panel in Pamplona in northern Spain found the men guilty of the lesser crime of “continuous sexual abuse,” according to CNN. Unlike a rape charge, sexual abuse charges indicate that violence or intimidation was not involved in the assault.
The judges’ verdict prompted demonstrators to protest outside of the Pamplona courthouse in droves, calling the sexual abuse conviction unjust.
Amnesty International’s Spanish chapter said the judges’ ruling makes women responsible for their rapists.
“The absence of legal recognition that sexual relations without consent constitute rape encourages the idea that we as women bear the responsibility to protect ourselves from rape,” the organization wrote on Facebook in Spanish. “These attitudes are dangerous and have to change.”