A British teenager has been found guilty of lying about being gang-raped by 12 Israeli tourists during a holiday in Cyprus in July, despite the judge refusing to consider whether she was raped or not.
The 19-year old’s lawyers said they were “disappointed but not surprised” by the verdict on Monday, “given the frequent refusal during the trial of the judge to consider evidence which supported the fact that the teenager had been raped”.
The woman had been having consensual sex with one of the Israelis in the party resort of Ayia Napa when his friends burst into the room despite her telling them not to come in. From that point on, the account is disputed. The woman said she was gang-raped, a charge denied by the Israelis’ through their lawyers.
Having been detained in Cyprus since July, first in prison then under house arrest, she has now been found guilty of “public mischief,” a charge that carries a maximum one year custodial sentence.
Cypriot police first rounded up the Israeli group but soon released them. They returned to national fanfare and a “hero’s welcome” in Israel, while British lawyers pleaded unsuccessfully for Cypriot police to review their mobile communications to each other as part of the case.
Meanwhile Cypriot officers interrogated and arrested the British woman as doctors warned she was traumatised. She was held without access to a lawyer and her poorly-written confession statement later proved the focus of a legal tussle.
In a blistering attack on the Cypriot justice system, her British barristers this week accused the judge of “shutting down questioning” from their Cypriot advocates, ignoring evidence and refusing to consider whether the woman was raped.
Michael Polak from Justice Abroad, representing the woman, said: “We find it incredibly difficult to follow this logic given that an essential element of the offence is for there to be a ‘false statement concerning an imaginary offence’ and therefore, clearly if the teenager was raped, she cannot be guilty.”