Cyprus court finds British teen guilty of false rape claim
The 19-year-old was convicted of “public mischief”, which carries a sentence of up to one year in prison and a fine of around 1,700 euros. Sentencing was adjourned until January 7.
The defendant, who pleaded not guilty, alleged that 12 Israelis raped her on July 17 at a hotel in Ayia Napa in the southern Cyprus town of Paralimni in Famagusta.
But the Israelis, aged 15 to 18, were released without charge the same month after the woman was arrested on suspicion of “making a false statement about an imaginary crime.”
“The statements you have given were false,” the judge told the woman at the district court.
The woman has said she recanted her accusation under duress from police during persistent questioning without a lawyer present.
She appeared frustrated, telling her lawyer: “He already made his decision! I thought we were asking for a fine.”
The defense said it would lodge an appeal with the Greek Cyprus Supreme Court.
“We believe there have been many violations in the procedure and the rights of fair trial have been violated,” the woman’s lawyer, Nicoletta Charalambidou, said.
Rights groups argued the teenager has suffered humiliation and been mistreated by the police and media.
British legal aid group Justice Abroad, which is supporting the woman, said the defense would take the case to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary.
“Despite the setback today, the teenager who has spent over a month in prison and six months where she has been unable to leave Cyprus is determined for justice to be done in her case as well as to help change the culture towards victims of sexual offences in Cyprus,” Justice Abroad’s Michael Polak said in a statement.