Cyprus gang rape claim teen heading home after judge gives her a ‘second chance’

Support us and go ad-free

A British teenager found guilty of lying about being gang-raped in Cyprus can return home after a judge said he was giving her a “second chance” and suspended her prison sentence.

The 19-year-old woman hugged her family and legal team and left court weeping, with her head in her hands, after she was sentenced for public mischief.

The teenager’s mother shouted “she’s coming home” to supporters outside Famagusta District Court, telling reporters she feels “relieved”.

Her lawyer Lewis Power QC said she will be returning home later on Tuesday but said her legal team would be challenging her conviction and was prepared to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Cyprus Rape Case
Protesters shout slogans outside a court before the arrival of the 19 year-old British woman (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

The teenager, from Derbyshire, has been stuck on the island after claiming she was raped by up to 12 Israeli tourists in a hotel room in the party town of Ayia Napa on 17 July.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

She was charged and spent about a month in prison before being granted bail in August.

The dozen young men and boys, aged between 15 and 20 arrested over the incident were freed after she signed a retraction statement 10 days later.

But she maintains she was raped after having consensual sex with one of the Israelis and forced to change her account under pressure from Cypriot police following hours of questioning alone and without legal representation.

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

And her family had raised fears she would suffer permanent damage to her mental health if she was sent to prison, having been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder .

Cyprus Rape Case
Protesters shout slogans outside a court before the arrival of the 19 year-old British woman at court (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Judge Michalis Papathanasiou told the court he would not be jailing her, despite insisting that all the evidence suggested she was guilty.

He told the packed courtroom: “I admit, I have been troubled over this.

“All the evidence shows that she had lied and prevented the police from doing other serious jobs.

“Twelve people were arrested and seven of them were there for at least 10 days. That was also a serious offence.

“Her psychological state, her youth, that she has been away from her family, her friends and academic studies this year, this has led me to decide to give her a second chance and suspend the sentence for three years.”

Cyprus rape court case
People protested outside Downing Street (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Dozens of protesters gathered outside the court, including a group of women who had travelled from Israel.

Holding placards reading “we believe you” and “don’t be afraid”, they chanted “Cyprus justice, shame on you”, “stop blaming the victim” and “you are not alone”.

Addressing applauding supporters after the hearing, the teenager’s mother said: “I just want to thank each and every one of you for turning up today, having belief, having faith and making sure we get justice.

“On behalf of the family, I would like to say we are very relieved at the sentence that has been passed down today.

“I would also like to say thank you for all the support we have received throughout the globe.”

Power said: “Whilst we welcome the fact that the sentence imposed today allows her to go home, we strongly contest the conviction and the fight for her innocence will go on regardless.

“We will be appealing the conviction and will take this case to the Supreme Court of Cyprus and are prepared to fight this case all the way to the European Court of Human Rights.

“We say and will maintain that this young girl was stripped both of her dignity and her basic human rights.”

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us