A district court in Cyprus has found a 19-year-old British woman guilty of lying about being raped by a group of Israeli tourists, in her hotel room, in July, this year. The woman held that she was coerced into signing a confession that she had made up the allegations. The defence has held that they are "very disappointed" with the ruling.
What is the case?
The 19-year-old British woman alleged that she was sexually abused by 12 Israeli tourists, in her hotel room at a holiday resort of Ayia Napa in mid-July. She further claimed that she was coerced into writing a confession that said, she had made up the allegations.
The police arrested her on charges of "public mischief", that carries a fine or a jail term of up to a year, or both. The woman told the court that she was in her hotel room with her Israeli boyfriend when others barged in and pinned her down.
What did the court rule?
The court ruled that the woman had lied about being raped, Reuters reported. In his judgement, the judge said that the defendant's guilt had been "proved beyond reasonable doubt" and called her claims inconsistent.
One defence witness, Marios Matsakis, a forensic pathologist who formerly worked for the state, said the woman's injuries were consistent with rape. Those whom she accused were not produced, as the court considered it as a case of "public mischief, rather than that of "sexual assault". The prosecutors held that she had fabricated gang-rape allegations as she was angry because of being filmed during sex.
Michael Polak, a Justice Abroad lawyer whose group is assisting the teenager, said the defence was "very disappointed" with the ruling. He further said, "We are not surprised by the result given the frequent refusal during the trial of the judge to consider evidence which supported the fact that the teenager had been raped". He said that it was very difficult to follow the judge's logic that it was not a rape case, despite the case being centred around whether she was raped or not.
The woman's lawyers said they will appeal the ruling and claimed she did not receive a fair trial. The woman has been stuck in Cyprus, since July, when the case emerged and has spent one month in jail. Her sentencing is scheduled for January 7.