Spanish court rejects sending La Manada member back to prison for bail breach

Antonio Manuel Guerrero, convicted of sexually abusing an 18-year-old, will remain free despite attempting to get a new passport

Antonio Manuel Guerrero.
Antonio Manuel Guerrero.Raúl Caro (EFE)

The Navarre Regional Court has refused to send back to prison one of the members of the so-called “La Manada” gang, five men who were convicted of sexually abusing an 18-year-old at the 2016 Running of the Bulls fiestas in Pamplona, for a breach of his bail terms.

Prosecutors in Navarre had called for Antonio Manuel Guerrero’s bail to be revoked, arguing that his attempt to obtain a passport on June 25 breached the court’s ruling that “he could not receive a new passport in the future,” and that he should be returned to prison as a “preventive measure” because he represents a “flight risk.”

We are happy within the general caution we have always shown in regards to this situation

Guerrero’s lawyer Jesús Pérez

Guerrero and four other men convicted in the case were released from preventive custody on June 22 while the Supreme Court reviews their appeals. They were convicted to nine years in prison for sexual abuse, but cleared of rape after the judges found that there had been no violence or intimidation against the victim.

The case triggered widespread protests in Spain and calls to overhaul the criminal code’s definition of sexual violence.

The Navarre court ruled two to one against the prosecution’s request to send Guerrero back to prison, with only one dissenting opinion.

“We are happy within the general caution we have always shown in regards to this situation,” Guerrero’s lawyer Jesús Pérez told EL PAÍS.

According to Pérez, Guerrero will now decide whether to take legal action against the person who reported his presence at the passport offices of the National Police. The La Manada member applied for a passport on June 25 but his request was rejected, according to a tweet from Spain’s National Police, on the basis that the conditions of his bail prohibit him from leaving the country.

Guerrero has returned to active service as a Civil Guard officer

Pérez told EL PAÍS that his client applied for a new passport because he could not locate the old one, which he needed to turn in as part of his bail conditions.

Guerrero, who is a member of Spain’s Civil Guard, has returned to active service after being suspended from duties for the legal maximum of six months.

The decision to grant bail to La Manada members led to mass protests, with demonstrators arguing that Spain’s justice system “neither protects nor believes women.”

Shortly after meeting the girl on the streets of Pamplona during the world-famous Sanfermines fiestas, the members of La Manada ushered her into the hallway of a residential building, where all five of them proceeded to penetrate her, filming the encounter on their cellphones. They then stole her cellphone and left the scene.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

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