The magistrates of the three Criminal Sections of the Provincial Court of Zaragoza have agreed on Tuesday that will revise downward the final sentences imposed for sexual crimes when the penalty established in the Organic Law for the Comprehensive Protection of Sexual Freedom, known as the ‘law of only yes is yes’, is more favorable to those convicted, although the penalty to be reviewed could have been imposed with the new norm.
The magistrates of the Zaragoza High Court are the first to have met in a non-jurisdictional plenary session to unify criteria on the review of sentences after the entry into force of the ‘Montero law’, on October 7. The new law, promoted by the Ministry of Equality, is leading to reductions in sentences and releases, a result contrary to its purpose.
The new law lower some minimum sentence limits. For example, rape (carnal access with penetration) previously had a minimum sentence of six years in prison and now it is four years.
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Y It has also lowered some maximum penaltiessuch as aggravated sexual assault without penetration, which previously could be punished with up to 10 years in prison and with the ‘Montero law’ cannot be punished with more than eight years.
The criteria adopted by the magistrates of the Provincial Court of Zaragoza means that if a rapist was finally sentenced to the minimum sentence in accordance with the previous regulations and six years in prison were imposed, the sanction must now be reviewed because the current minimum sentence is four years. And this regardless of whether the penalty imposed before is within the range provided for violation by the ‘law of only yes is yes’ (from four to 12 years in prison).
“In the violations, in the basic type the sentence went from six to 12 years. And now the fork is from four to 12 years. In those cases in which the minimum sentence, which was six, now would be to lower it to four years”, explained the president of the Audiencia de Zaragoza, Alfonso Ballestín, member of the progressive association Judges and Judges for Democracy.
“In our judgment, and waiting for what the Supreme Court saysthe sentence that is most favorable to the prisoner must always be applied retroactively, as established in article 2.2 of the Penal Code”, Alfonso Ballestín told EL ESPAÑOL.
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According to the president of the Audiencia de Zaragoza, “in principle, in cases in which a sentence was imposed that is above the new maximum stipulated by law, the sentence will have to be lowered. And in those sentences in which the sentence was to the minimum established by the previous law, if that minimum is lower in the new regulations, the latter will also have to be applied because it is more favorable to the prisoner and lowers the sentences”.
The review criteria agreed by the magistrates of Zaragoza contradict the attorney generalÁlvaro García Ortíz, who in a decree issued just 24 hours ago has ordered prosecutors to oppose the review of final sentences imposed for sexual crimes when the “only yes is yes” law is applied. penalty established in the sentence is likely to be imposed in accordance with the new legal framework.
Ballestín has stated that “we are going to give a reasonable short time for the interested lawyers to request the review of their cases, but after a few days or weeks we will initiate it ex officio”.
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