Prosecutor drops bid to show sex tape of UK teen in Cyprus rape case
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Prosecutor drops bid to show sex tape of UK teen in Cyprus rape case

A projector was brought into court as a prosecuto asked to play a video of the teen found on some of the 11 phones confiscated from members of the Israeli group

Police officers escort a 19-year-old British woman, center, from the Famagusta court in town of Paralimni, Cyprus, Monday, July 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Police officers escort a 19-year-old British woman, center, from the Famagusta court in town of Paralimni, Cyprus, Monday, July 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

A Cypriot prosecutor has dropped a bid to play a video in court of a British teenager involved in sexual activity on the night she claims she was gang raped.

The 19-year-old woman, who cannot be identified, denies causing public mischief by allegedly lying about being attacked in an Ayia Napa hotel room on July 17.

She retracted her statement 10 days later and the 12 young Israeli men who were arrested in connection with the claims returned home after their release.

The woman’s lawyers say she was pressured by police to change her statement, but Cypriot authorities strongly deny the retraction was coerced, saying that she volunteered it in writing.

The teenager spent four-and-a-half weeks in prison before she was granted bail at the end of August, but cannot leave the island, which is popular with British holidaymakers.

She arrived at Famagusta District Court in Paralimni on Tuesday, dressed in black and wearing a baseball cap and a scarf to cover her face.

A projector was brought into court as prosecutor Adamos Demosthenous asked to play a video of the teenager found on some of the 11 phones confiscated from members of the Israeli group.

He asked to play the clip in closed court as he questioned phone expert Spyros Nicolau, but Ritsa Pekri, defending, objected, saying it would be dangerous for the woman’s psychological health if it was played in front of her.

The video, timed at 02.56am on July 17 is said to have shown the woman involved in sexual activity with one man as others tried to enter the room.

Her family has set up a crowdfunding page asking for money for legal costs, which has raised more than £36,000.

In an online post, they said: “We live in hope that it will be resolved in this time. Thanks to all of you for making this possible.”

If the woman is found guilty, she could face up to a year in jail and a 1,700 euro (about £1,500) fine.

She is expected to give evidence during the trial, which is listed for three days this week.

Human rights and feminist groups last week urged Cyprus’s attorney general to dismiss the case and the woman’s legal team will ask Judge Michalis Papathanasiou to exclude her retracted statement.

The teenager maintains she was raped by members of the Israeli group and her lawyers say police exerted pressure by threatening her and her friends with arrest when she was interrogated without a lawyer until 2am.

At a hearing earlier this month the court heard one of the Israelis had told police in a statement the group had earlier talked about having sex with her in a “very bad and aggressive way”.

Michael Polak, director of the group Justice Abroad, has previously said the teenager, who has since missed out on her place at university, has been diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

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