| 29 February 2024, Thursday |

British woman files appeal against Cyprus ‘fake rape’ conviction

A British lady who was wrongfully accused of gang rape in Cyprus has filed an appeal with the island’s Supreme Court, requesting that her name be cleared.

In January 2020, the woman was sentenced to a four-month suspended prison sentence in a case that prompted outrage in the United Kingdom and among activists over Cyprus authorities’ treatment of her.

On Thursday, lawyers for the defendant, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, and prosecutors presented their cases before a three-judge Supreme Court in Nicosia.

Within six months, the court is likely to make a decision.

The woman, then aged 19, filed a complaint in July 2019 that she had been raped by a group of Israeli youths in the holiday resort of Ayia Napa. Days later the complaint was withdrawn, leading to her arrest and subsequent conviction for public mischief.

She maintains she withdrew her complaint under duress after hours of police questioning and without a lawyer present.

“The case is a seminal one for the protection of human rights in Cyprus, as well as the treatment of those who report sexual offences,” said Michael Polack, director of the UK-based Justice Abroad advocacy group assisting a local defense team.

Twelve Israeli youths were detained for questioning but swiftly released after the woman withdrew her accusation.

They were not required to give any evidence at the woman’s trial because the case focused on whether the woman had mislead authorities and given a false statement, rather than the alleged rape itself.

The British government later said it had “numerous concerns” about the judicial process and the woman’s right to a fair trial. The woman was not present at Thursday’s process.

  • Reuters