UK teen accused of lying about rape by Israelis suffering from PTSD, lawyers say
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UK teen accused of lying about rape by Israelis suffering from PTSD, lawyers say

19-year-old faces trial after pleading not guilty to a public mischief charge over her claim that she was gang raped at an Ayia Napa hotel in July.

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 British teenager accused of falsely claiming she was raped by 12 Israelis has arrived in a Cyprus court as her lawyers revealed she is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The 19-year-old, who cannot be named, faces trial after pleading not guilty to a public mischief charge over her claim that she was gang raped at an Ayia Napa hotel in July.

She arrived at Famagusta District Court in Paralimni on Wednesday morning ahead of a hearing in which her lawyers plan to challenge the admissibility of a statement she made to police retracting the allegations.

Her legal team also hopes to question officers over their initial investigation of the alleged rape, arguing they did not examine text and social media messages sent between the Israelis.

Michael Polak, director of the group Justice Abroad, which is assisting in the woman’s legal defence, said: “She obviously just wants to go home. She was suffering from PTSD after the incident and we have got a psychologist for her.”

The lawyer said the teenager, who is on bail but must remain on the island, is being supported by her family, but has missed out on her place at university.

“She doesn’t want to be here, she just wants to go back,” he added.

Five Israelis were freed on July 25 after no evidence was found linking them to the case, while the remaining seven were released three days later after police said the woman retracted the rape allegations.

She spent four-and-a-half weeks in prison before she was granted bail at the end of August.

The teenager has surrendered her travel documents to police and must appear at a Nicosia police station three times weekly.

Her defence lawyers say investigators exerted pressure on her to retract her statement, threatening her and her friends with arrest.

Cypriot authorities strongly deny that the retraction was coerced, saying that she volunteered the statement in writing.

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