Ayia Napa: Foreign Office ‘concerned’ over Briton found guilty over rape claim

Ayia Napa: Foreign Office ‘concerned’ over Briton found guilty over rape claim

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The woman covered her face as she arrived to hear the verdictImage copyright
AFP

Image caption

The woman covered her face as she arrived to hear the verdict

The UK is “seriously concerned about the fair trial guarantees” in the case of a British woman convicted of lying about being gang-raped by 12 Israelis in Cyprus, the government said.

A Foreign Office spokesman said the case in Ayia Napa was “deeply distressing” and it will raise the issue with Cypriot authorities.

The teenager was found guilty on a charge of causing public mischief.

She had been arrested after recanting a claim that she was raped in July.

The 19-year-old had said Cypriot police made her falsely confess to lying about the incident at a hotel – but police denied this.

The judge at the Famagusta District Court in Paralimni adjourned sentencing until 7 January. She could face up to a year in jail and a £1,500 fine, but her lawyers have asked for a suspended sentence.

Lawyer Michael Polak, director of Justice Abroad which is assisting the woman, told BBC News that they will appeal the conviction.

He said the retraction statement was given when no lawyer or translator was present, which he said was a breach of European human rights law.

He also criticised the handling of the case by Judge Michalis Papathanasiou, who he said refused to hear any evidence about whether the alleged rape took place.

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Media captionLawyer Michael Polak described it as “a very worrying conviction”

Prosecutors said the woman willingly wrote and signed a statement retracting her claims 10 days after making the initial allegation.

The woman told the court this happened under duress with the threat of arrest.

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