A 19-year-old British woman was convicted in Cyprus for falsely accusing twelve men of group rape. The woman withdrew her statement, according to her lawyers under pressure from the Cypriot police.
The young woman was in the Cypriot resort of Ayia Napa last summer and told the police that she was raped in her hotel room by twelve Israeli men between 15 and 22 years old. The accused could be found and arrested quickly.
A few weeks later, the woman withdrew her accusations in a poorly written confession.
Afterwards, through Justice Abroad, an organisation that provides legal assistance abroad and represents the teenager, she stated that she had been pressured to sign the statement. The Cypriot police would also have refused a lawyer.
The Cypriot court subsequently accused the woman of having made false statements about “an imagined crime.” Her passport was withdrawn, and she was locked up. The twelve men were released and meanwhile returned to Israel.
In court, the teenager stayed with the first statement, and testified in detail how she was raped after going to her hotel room to have sex with one of the men by mutual consent. Yet the young woman was found guilty. She is now risking up to a year in prison or a fine of more than 1,000 euros.