UK woman arrested over Cyprus rape case says ‘police made her confess to lying’

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UK woman arrested over Cyprus rape case says ‘police made her confess to lying’

Lawyers for 19-year-old who dropped allegations of gang-rape by 12 Israelis, claim she was 'given a choice of reasons' as to why she made up the story by police

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 young British woman who said she was gang-raped by Israeli men in Cyprus before being arrested for lying about it was threatened by Cypriot police, say lawyers representing her.

The 19-year old woman, who is still being held in Nicosia Prison, said she was raped by a group of 12 Israelis who were staying at her Ayia Napa hotel and partying before their military service.

Five Israeli men were released shortly after the allegations were first levelled in mid-July, and the seven remaining were released last week, after the woman retracted her statement before being arrested for “public nuisance”.

As the Israelis returned home to a “hero’s welcome,” with chants of “Israeli pride,” lawyers representing the woman said she was threatened and made to sign a confession, while being refused a lawyer.

Justice Abroad, a London-based company representing the woman, said a Cypriot officer “told her to write a confession and that if she did not do so he would arrest her friends in Cyprus for conspiracy, naming the friends he would arrest if she refused”.

The organisation, which was co-founded by London barrister Michael Polak, said the teenage woman was “refused” a lawyer, at which point she said: “You have to be f******kidding me.” She left the room crying, and upon her return was told she could now be arrested for swearing at a police officer.

“Further pressure was placed upon her to write the confession despite her stating that she did not want to,” said Justice Abroad. “The purported confession was dictated to her and she was told what to include.”

Lawyers said she was “given a choice of reasons” as to why she made up the story, before “a stand-off… the Police Officer telling her that she had to and that if she did not sign it he would arrest her but if she did she could return back to her hotel”.

Cypriot police have denied the story as “unrealistic” while Israeli lawyer Nir Yaslovitzh, who represented four of the men, said the woman was “changing her version of events like a chameleon changing its colours… She is clearly lying”.

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