British teenager in Cyprus gang rape case handed four-month suspended jail sentence

The British teenager outside the court complex where she was found guilty of public mischief - AP
The British teenager outside the court complex where she was found guilty of public mischief - AP

A British teenager convicted of lying about being gang-raped by a group of Israeli tourists in a Cypriot holiday resort has been sentenced to four months in jail, suspended for three years. 

The sentence was read out on Tuesday morning by judge Michalis Papathanasiou.

He presided over a three-month trial in which the young woman was charged with public mischief for allegedly fabricating the story of being raped by the Israelis in a hotel room in the resort of Ayia Napa in July.

The 19-year-old, from Derbyshire, said she was raped by the Israelis in the early hours of July 17 but 10 days later signed a statement retracting the accusation.

She told the court in Paralimni that she had been placed under immense pressure by Cypriot detectives to sign the retraction and that much of it had been dictated to her by an investigating officer.

No part of the seven-hour questioning was recorded by the police. She said officers threatened to arrest all her friends in Cyprus if she did not sign the statement.

Last week the judge dismissed the defence’s case and found the teenager guilty of causing public mischief by allegedly lying about the attack.

There is speculation that the teenager could be granted a pardon by the president of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades.

That could assuage some of the anger over the handling of the case, which has caused a diplomatic rift between Cyprus and Britain and raised accusations of a miscarriage of justice.

<span>Activists take part in a demonstration, after a British woman was found guilty of faking a rape claim, outside the Famagusta courthouse in Paralimni</span> <span>Credit: Reuters </span>

<span>Activists take part in a demonstration, after a British woman was found guilty of faking a rape claim, outside the Famagusta courthouse in Paralimni</span> <span>Credit: Reuters </span>

Activists take part in a demonstration, after a British woman was found guilty of faking a rape claim, outside the Famagusta courthouse in Paralimni Credit: Reuters

An umbrella group has called the Cyprus Women’s Lobby called for the young woman to be granted a pardon.

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“The Cyprus Women's Lobby calls on the President of the Cyprus Republic to exercise his constitutional right and grant the young Englishwoman a pardon, if the impending ruling delivers a prison sentence,” the group said.

“(We) consider such a development very positive and certainly beneficial for the young woman, who has been repeatedly abused by the entire system and its institutions in recent months.”

Story continues

But the woman’s lawyers say that even if a pardon is granted, they will still appeal the conviction, first in the Supreme Court of Cyprus and then, if necessary, in the European Court of Human Rights.

“Even if there is a pardon, the conviction would still stand so it would be of little succour to the young woman,” Lewis Power QC, one of the teenager’s two British lawyers, told The Telegraph.

“That would have a dramatic effect on her for the rest of her life in terms of wanting to travel or the career she may choose. So we will fight on for justice in order to clear her name.”

The case has strained relations between Britain and Cyprus, with campaigners in the UK calling for a boycott of the island as a holiday destination.

British tourists account for nearly a third of the 3.9 million tourists who visit Cyprus each year.

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