Teenager found guilty of lying over Cyprus gang-rape ‘terrified’ of jail

The mother of a British teenager found guilty of lying about being gang-raped in Cyprus has said her daughter is “terrified” of being sent to jail.

The 19-year-old woman, who has not been named, will be sentenced at Famagusta District Court in Paralimni on Tuesday, where she could be jailed for up to a year and fined 1,700 euro (£1,500).

Her lawyers asked Judge Michalis Papathanasiou to consider a suspended prison sentence after she was convicted of public mischief last week.

And local media reports suggest she will be pardoned by Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades if the judge does impose an immediate jail term, allowing her to go home.

But her mother said the teenager is “terrified” of being sent to prison, having spent a month behind bars before she was granted bail in August.

“She has been in Nicosia state prison before, she knows what it is like,” she told ITV News.

“She’s going to go in there for a conviction for this offence, and people will know what she has been saying about Cyprus.

“I can’t even begin to describe how upsetting that is.”

Her English lawyer, Michael Polak, from the Justice Abroad group, said a jail term could cause permanent damage to her mental health after she was diagnosed with PTSD.

“The best outcome I could hope for tomorrow is for her to get a sentence where she can come home,” her mother said.

“She needs to be back in the UK for her treatment for PTSD and that is my number one priority.”

The teenager claimed she was raped by up to 12 Israeli tourists in a hotel room in the party town of Ayia Napa on July 17.

Cyprus rape court case
The verdict has prompted protests (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

She was charged, while the young men, aged between 15 and 20, who were arrested over the incident, were freed after she signed a retraction statement 10 days later.

The woman maintains she was raped after having consensual sex with one of the Israelis but forced to change her account under pressure from Cypriot police.

The case hinged on a retraction statement signed by the teenager following hours of questioning alone and without legal representation.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he has raised concerns over the treatment of the teenager with the Cypriot authorities after her conviction provoked outrage in Cyprus and the UK.

Her lawyers are poised to launch an appeal and hope to fast-track proceedings in Cyprus’s supreme court, which could take three to four years.

Mr Polak said: “We think we have strong grounds for appeal. For example, the way the trial was conducted and the admission of the retraction statement, as well as the fact she didn’t have a lawyer when the statement was taken.

“We are confident we will succeed on appeal if not in Cyprus then at one of the European courts.”

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS