A Cyprus court ruled on Monday that a British teenager was guilty of falsely claiming being gang-raped by 12 Israeli tourists, arguing she was not coerced by police into changing her mind.
Famagusta district court judge Michalis Papathanasiou said in his verdict that the 19-year-old’s claim she was pressured into changing her statement was “completely untrustworthy”.
In his ruling, the judge said the defendant had not told the truth, had tried to mislead the court with her testimony was that “contradictory and lacking in reason”.
During mitigation, the woman’s co-defence lawyer Ritsa Pekri said her client was taking medication for depression while for someone so young she deserved a second chance.
The court will pass sentence on January 7, the Briton could face up to one year in prison and a fine of around 1,700 euros.
The woman’s defence team said they were planning to appeal against the decision.
The woman’s lawyers had claimed that the teenager was pressured into signing a statement which was written by a detective.
The court said the police had acted properly at all times with no pressure put on the woman to change her mind about the initial rape claim.
The 19-year-old, who had pleaded not guilty to the charge of “public mischief,” covered her face as she arrived at the Famagusta district court in Paralimni.
Outside the court, a protest was held by a group calling themselves the ‘Network Against Violence Against Women’.
Protesters claimed the 19-year-old Briton is a victim of patriarchal society and that was mistreated by police, justice and the media since her ordeal.
Initially, the teenager had alleged that 12 Israelis raped her on July 17 at a hotel in the resort of Ayia Napa, a magnet for younger tourists attracted by its beaches and nightlife.
Ten days later, the Israelis aged 15 to 18 were released without charge after the woman was arrested on suspicion of “making a false statement about an imaginary crime”, according to Cypriot police.
The Israelis have denied any allegation of assault and have since returned home.
The individuals she had accused of assaulting her were not summoned to court because prosecutors considered it a case of public mischief and not rape.
When the incident happened, the woman was on a working holiday during the summer and planned to go back to the UK to study at university
Rights groups argued the teenager has suffered humiliation – as well as being mistreated by both the police and the media.
They called for an investigation into the way police dealt with the case and also criticised the way rape cases and victims were handled in Cyprus.