British woman found guilty of lying about gang rape appeals her conviction

British woman found guilty of lying about gang rape appeals her conviction
A British woman convicted of lying about being raped by a group of 12 Israeli tourists is appealing the verdict, citing legal irregularities including disregard of evidence and police mistreatment.
3 min read
18 January, 2020
The woman's conviction has prompted an outcry by human rights groups [Getty]
A British woman launched an appeal on Friday against the ruling of a Cyprus court that convicted her of lying about being gang raped by a group of 12 Israelis.

The woman, who has remained anonymous, was found guilty of "wilfully indulging in public mischief" in December, after accusing the men of raping her in a hotel room in the holiday resort of Ayia Napa, despite allegations of police mistreatment criticism that the process was riddled with irregularities.

Her lawyer said she was pressured into signing a retraction written by a detective, however the court dismissed allegations of police misconduct.

The woman, who was 19 at the time of the alleged attack, received a four-month suspended prison sentence and fined €140 (£119) and allowed to return home to the UK amid protests by human rights groups against the verdict.

Comment: Cyprus rape case exposes a toxic system, stacked against women

Justice Abroad, the legal organisation assisting the now 20-year-old's family, released a statement saying the grounds for filing the appeal are based on the fact that, "the retraction statement should not have been admitted in the trial proceedings given that it was obtained after the defendant has been detained in the police station for almost seven hours, without a lawyer, and without a translator".

The statement added that the woman's retraction should have been made void because she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The group further added that the judge did not allow for a fair hearing, saying he was "continuously shouting 'this is not a rape trial, I don't want to hear evidence about rape'."

Furthermore, the statement said the judge prevented the woman's lawyers from examining evidence that backed her claims she had been raped, including "DNA evidence of three of the Israeli youths on a condom which was also found with blood on it", as well as testimony given by two British tourists and the doctor at the at Cypriot resort about the medical condition of the woman.

Speaking to The New Arab, Christina Kaili from the Cyprus-based Mediterranean Institute of Gender said the case was "handled terribly from the first day", including, "how the police handled the investigation, how the young woman was treated, and why she was prosecuted without apparent examination of the allegations she immediately reported to the police".

"The Judge's vindictive rhetoric and victim-blaming statements reflect the deeply patriarchal system of criminal justice in Cyprus that crushes women who dare to report male violence against women," Kaili said, adding that the handling of the case breaks EU protocol and "falls well below international standards".

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