Cyprus court finds British woman guilty of false gang-rape claim

Woman had claimed she was gang-raped by a group of Israeli tourists in a holiday resort earlier this year.

A British woman, accused of lying about being gang raped, covers her face as she leaves Famagusta courthouse in Paralimni
Rights groups say the teenager suffered humiliation and was mistreated by police and media [Yiannis Kourtoglou/Reuters]

A court in Cyprus on Monday found a British woman guilty of falsely claiming she was gang-raped by a group of Israeli tourists in the holiday resort of Ayia Napa. 

The woman, who was 19 at the time of the incident in July, had pleaded not guilty to the charge of “public mischief”, which carries a sentence of up to one year in prison and a fine of about 1,700 euros ($1,900).

“The statements you have given were false,” the judge told the defendant in remarks translated by the court interpreter. Sentencing was adjourned until January 7.

She appeared frustrated by the delay to the sentencing, telling her lawyer: “He already made his decision! I thought we were asking for a fine.”

More than a dozen women from an association for the protection of women attended court in the town of Paralimni wearing white scarves with an image of lips sewn shut printed on them.

The woman’s lawyers had claimed she was pressured into signing a statement written by a detective.

Activists take part in a demonstration, after a British woman was found guilty of faking a rape claim, outside the Famagusta courthouse in Paralimni
Activists take part in a demonstration outside the courthouse [Yiannis Kourtoglou/Reuters]

The judge said during the trial that police had acted properly at all times, with no pressure exerted to change the woman’s mind about her initial claim she was raped by 12 Israelis on July 17.

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.

Rights groups argued the teenager had been humiliated and mistreated by the police and media.

They have called for an investigation into police handling of the case and criticised the way rape cases and victims are treated in Cyprus.

Source: News Agencies