‘Serious concerns’ after British woman found guilty of lying about being Cyprus gang rape

‘Public mischief’ carries sentence of up to one year in prison

Zoe Tidman
Monday 30 December 2019 22:19
British teenager found guilty of lying about Cyprus gang-rape

A British woman has been found guilty of lying about being gang-raped by Israeli tourists in Cyprus.

In a case closely followed by rights groups, a district court in the town of Paralimni ruled the woman, aged 19 at the time, had lied about being sexually abused by 12 Israeli teenagers.

She told authorities that she had been gang-raped by the tourists in her hotel room at the holiday resort of Ayia Napa in mid-July.

However, the Foreign Office has said it is “seriously concerned” about the case after the woman said she was coerced into signing a confession that said she had made up the allegations.

The UK government will raise concerns with the Cypriot authorities over whether the British teenager had been given a fair trial.

The case was first reported as a shocking gang rape until Cypriot authorities arrested the woman on suspicion of having lied.

She has now been found guilty of “public mischief”, which can carry a prison sentence of up to a year.

Emerging from the court house after the verdict, both the woman and her mother wore strips of fabric over their mouths onto which stitched lips were drawn.

Michael Polak, a Justice Abroad lawyer whose group is assisting the teenager, said the defence was ”very disappointed” with the ruling.

However, he said: “We are not surprised by the result given the frequent refusal during the trial of the judge to consider evidence which supported the fact that the teenager had been raped.”

He said they found it “incredibly difficult to follow [the judge’s] logic” that it was not a rape case, despite the trial centring on whether she told the truth in her sexual assault claims.

The woman’s lawyers said they will appeal against the ruling and claimed she did not receive a fair trial.

Prosecutors told the court the defendant had fabricated the gang-rape allegations as she was angry at having been filmed during sex.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has maintained that she was raped and the confession was forced out of her.

The woman told the court that one of the Israeli men, with whom she had a relationship, was in her hotel room with her when others suddenly appeared and pinned her down.

The individuals she had accused of assaulting her were not summoned to court because prosecutors considered it a case of public mischief and not rape.

The judge said the defendants’ guilt had been “proved beyond reasonable doubt” and called her testimony “exaggerated, confused, contradictory and incoherent”.

Claire Waxman, the victims’ commissioner for London, said she had “grave concerns” about the case following the ruling.

“My #rapereview has linked to research done on the neurobiological impact of trauma on the brain which explains why accounts can be ‘inconsistent’,” she tweeted.

The woman has not been allowed to leave Cyprus after making the initial rape allegation in summer.

She has spent six months stuck in the country, including more than a month in prison, and had to remain over Christmas after the final verdict was delayed until 30 December.

Her sentencing is scheduled for 7 January.

Additional reporting by agencies

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in