SPAIN'S highest contentious court has overturned a controversial sentence which found five gang-rapists accused of the lesser offence of 'sexual abuse' after they attacked an 18-year-old woman at Pamplona...
Mother who fled 'violent' husband jailed for kidnapping her children
By thinkSPAIN Team Fri, Jul 27, 2018
A MUM who disappeared with her children to escape her violent husband has been sentenced to five years in jail, a six-year ban on custody of the kids and ordered to pay their father €30,000 in compensation.
Juana Rivas, from Maracena (Granada province) fled to Spain from Italy where she lived with her husband Francesco Arcuri with their two sons, now aged four and 11.
Arcuri reported her for child abduction and a court in Spain ordered Juana to hand over the boys to their father.
Juana insisted that the children were frightened and did not want to go back to live with their Italian father, and that they had witnessed scenes of domestic violence.
She said she had taken the boys away for their own safety.
A court ordered Juana to be in a set meeting place at a given time and date to hand the children over, but instead, she disappeared and took the boys with her.
In press conferences, in floods of tears, she said she would 'never' give the children to Arcuri, and that she would fight to the death if necessary to stop him taking them.
Eventually, she caved in and allowed them to go to Italy.
This was last August, and she has now been jailed for kidnap.
She says she will appeal, as she reported Arcuri for domestic violence to a court in Cagliari two years ago, a few months before leaving for Spain with the boys, but the case is still waiting to be processed because of a backlog.
Magistrate Manuel Piñar said there was 'no evidence' of domestic violence and that psychologists' reports on the children did not reveal any likely physical or mental harm that could result from their living with their father.
He even heavily criticised Juana for 'shouting to the four winds' about being abused and her eldest son being hit, 'damaging the honour and dignity' of her ex-husband when he 'has not even been tried by a court'.
Thousands of members of the public hit the streets this evening (Friday) in protest, in her nearest provincial capital city of Granada and also in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia.
They carried banners reading, “Juana in jail, all of us sentenced,” and “We're not afraid.”
In Barcelona, mayoress Ada Colau, via social media, called upon city-dwellers to gather in support of Juana, sending her a message of 'love and support' to her and her children.
“We're not going to allow it to be considered the norm for rapists and abusers to walk the streets freely whilst a mother goes to jail for protecting her children,” Colau added.
Chants and placards slammed Spain's 'patriarchal justice system', remembering how male magistrates found five Sevilla men not guilty of raping an 18-year-old woman in Pamplona and sentenced them to nine years instead of 20, for the lesser offence of 'sexual abuse'.
In Granada, marchers carried banners reading, “We are all Juana,” and “Shameful justice system jails Juana and releases La Manada,” the collective name the Pamplona gang-rapists give themselves.
Spain's deputy president and minister for equality Carmen Calvo recalled that until all the appeal processes had either been exhausted or abandoned, Juana would not have to go to jail, whilst deputy spokeswoman for left-wing Podemos, Ione Belarra, called the verdict 'barbaric'.
Meanwhile, leader of centre-right Ciudadanos, Albert Rivera, criticised the other parties for 'pushing' Juana into 'breaking the law'.
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