Thursday 23 January 2020

British teenager to appeal against her conviction over gang rape 'lies'

The woman arrives at court yesterday to be sentenced
The woman arrives at court yesterday to be sentenced

Michele Kambas

A British teenager will appeal against her conviction in Cyprus over a withdrawn allegation of gang rape, her lawyers have said, as the British government said it had raised numerous concerns about her treatment with Cypriot authorities.

The 19-year-old was given a suspended sentence yesterday after being found guilty by a court of public mischief for having alleged that she had been raped by a group of Israeli youths in the holiday resort of Ayia Napa last July.

She says she was coerced by police into dropping the complaint.

The case has caused outrage in Britain and sparked protests from activists who say the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, did not get a fair trial.

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Lawyers said she would appeal to clear her name.

"The fight for her innocence will go on regardless," said Lewis Power, who was assisting the woman's local defence team. "We will maintain this young girl was stripped of her dignity and basic human rights."

She had earlier been sentenced before a packed courtroom to four months in jail, suspended for three years.

Stress

Raising his voice over chants from supporters of the woman outside, Judge Michalis Papathanasiou told her the sentence took into account her age, clean criminal record and remorse, and that he was giving her a "second chance".

The woman, whose lawyers say she is suffering from post-traumatic stress, stood in silence before him.

Police ordered window blinds in the courtroom to be pulled down to block the sight of about 150 protesters.

Irish Independent

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