British Teenager sentenced over gang rape claim in Cyprus Hotel
A British teenager was handed a four-month suspended prison sentence after being found guilty of lying about being gang-raped at a Cyprus resort town .
The 19-year-old girl, that can’t be named for legal reasons, was sentenced in a district court in Paralimni on Tuesday. Lawyer Lewis Power told reporters outside the courtroom that the sentence could be suspended for three decades.
The girl had been found guilty on a single charge of causing public mischief, in a high-profile case that’s been closely followed by women’s rights activists.
She claimed she had been assaulted by 12 Israeli tourists on July 17 in the Pambos Napa Rocks hotel in the resort of Ayia Napa, where she was staying. But 10 days after the girl retracted her statement, and police detained.
Another one of the woman’s attorneys, Michael Polak, by the advocacy group Justice Abroad, previously told CNN she was coerced into making the announcement, was denied legal representation, and was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.
Supreme Court of Cyprus
Her legal team told reporters outside the courtroom Tuesday that she’d be returning home to Britain after that day. They’ll be challenging her conviction, carrying it to the Supreme Court of Cyprus and all the way to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary, the UK’s PA Media news agency reported.
It added that during sentencing, Judge Michalis Papathanasiou told the court:”All the evidence proves that she’d lied and prevented the authorities from performing other serious jobs.”
The judge added that the lady’s”psychological condition, her childhood, that she’s been away from her family, her friends and academic studies this year” had directed him to”give her a second chance” and suspend the sentence for three decades.
‘We believe you’
The girl spent over a month in prison before being granted bail. Her passport was kept, and she hasn’t managed to leave the country until today.
“Whilst we welcome the fact that the sentence imposed today allows her to go home, we strongly contest the conviction and the struggle for her innocence will go on regardless,” said the woman’s attorney, Lewis Power, on leaving the courtroom, PA reported.
“We state and will assert that this young woman was stripped of her dignity and her fundamental human rights.”
The case was closely followed by rights activists, who say it was mishandled. Dozens of fans, many having traveled from Israel, applauded the girl and her mum on leaving the courtroom.
They held placards that said”we think you” and”you aren’t alone.” Some wore white scarves over their faces portraying lips sewn together.
In the United Kingdom, opposition Labour MP Lisa Nandy, who’s also a candidate for party leader, tweeted that:”The message this situation sends to sufferers is they will become the accused should they report rape.”
None of the Israeli youths involved were called to give evidence in the case.
Nir Yaslovitzh, a lawyer representing them, previously told CNN: “I applaud the court’s decision to convict the woman.”
“I expect that the court will find it appropriate to aggravate the punishment imposed on the woman, who refuses to this day to take responsibility for the dreadful action she’s done against the boys.”