Is Spain too lenient with sex offenders?
A judgement passed on a group of sex offenders has sparked outrage in Spanish society. Five men who were facing charges of raping an 18-year-old woman in 2016 in Pamplona were sentenced to nine years each in prison last week after the judges ruled that they had sexually abused rather than raped the woman. The press criticises that the boundary between politics and the judiciary has become blurred in this case.
Verdict meant to punish obstreperous women
Tens of thousands of people protested against the judgement across the country on Saturday. Il Manifesto is also outraged, and believes the sentence is political:
“It is clear not only to the most radical and intolerant feminist movements that this excessively mild sentence is not due to an excess of constitutional guarantees, and cannot be explained with references to a loophole in Spanish criminal law on sexual crimes. It is a political response to the women's general strike on March 8. On that day more than five million women stopped productive and reproductive labour to make it clear that a world without women would come to a standstill. [After this judgement] stopping the women's wave of protests will be very difficult.”
Respect the separation of powers
Justice Minister Rafael Catalá criticised one of the judges, provoking a wave of indignation from judge associations. Politicians must refrain from interfering in judicial affairs, La Vanguardia concurs:
“It's a worrying situation. The separation of powers is one of the foundations of the rule of law, and any interference by one power in the affairs and competences of another doesn't help either of them. In this country, unfortunately, in recent times there has been legal interference in political affairs and political interference in judicial affairs. ... The power struggle between the executive and the judiciary is worrying and should prompt all those involved to reflect deeply on the situation. The institutional clash between the government and the judges weakens the rule of law and alienates citizens from the institutions.”