British woman found guilty of lying about gang rape in Cyprus resort town

Cyprus Rape Case
Posted at 6:51 AM, Dec 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-30 07:51:12-05

(CNN) -- A British woman has been found guilty of lying to police after alleging she was gang-raped by 12 Israeli youths in Cyprus.

The 19-year-old was found guilty on a single charge of causing public mischief, her lawyer told CNN.

The woman had claimed she was attacked by 12 Israeli tourists on July 17 at the Pambos Napa Rocks hotel in the resort of Ayia Napa, where she was staying. But ten days later the woman retracted her statement, and police arrested her.

Her lawyer, Michael Polak, from the advocacy group Justice Abroad, said she had been coerced into making the statement and denied legal representation. "She wasn't allowed a lawyer, which is against European law, she didn't have a translator, she was suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)," he said.

In court, the woman insisted that she was raped but had been pressured into changing her account by Cypriot police, Reuters reported.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the court that she'd had a consensual relationship with one of the Israeli youths, and was in a room with him when the others appeared, Reuters said. She alleged that she was held down and raped.

However Judge Michalis Papathanasiou accepted the prosecution's case that the woman fabricated the claims because she felt "ashamed" after finding out some of the Israelis had filmed her having sex on their mobile phones, Reuters reported.

None of the youths were called to give evidence.

Nir Yaslovitzh, a lawyer representing a number of the Israeli men, told Sky News: "I hope the court will impose a hard punishment to reflect the damage done... I'm glad to hear that the court convicted her."

The woman spent more than a month in prison, before being granted bail. Her passport was retained, and she has not been able to leave the country.

Sentencing has been adjourned until January 7. The conviction could result in up to a year jail time.

The case has been closely followed by rights activists, who say it has been mishandled by Cypriot officials.

On Monday protesters from the Network Against Violence Against Women gathered outside the Famagusta District Court, many wearing white scarves portraying lips sewn together.

Polak said the woman will be appealing the case to the Cyprus Supreme Court and, should this fail, to the European Court of Human Rights.

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