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British woman to appeal conviction for lying about Ayia Napa gang-rape claim

The woman, from Derbyshire, was found guilty of causing public mischief and kept in Cyprus for months after claiming she was attacked by a group of 12 Israeli men in Ayia Napa

A British woman who claims she was gang-raped during a holiday in Cyprus is appealing her conviction for lying

A Brit who claims she was gang-raped during a holiday in Cyprus is appealing her conviction for lying.

The woman, from Derbyshire – who cannot be named for legal reasons – said she was attacked by a group of 12 Israeli men in Ayia Napa in July 2019.

She was 19 at the time and was held without a lawyer for months and agreed to retract the allegation before being found guilty of causing public mischief.

Her appeal will now be heard by the Cypriot Supreme Court on September 16.

If the conviction is not overturned her legal team plans to take the case to the European Court of Human Rights, reports the BBC.



The woman claimed 12 Israeli men raped her in Ayia Napa
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Image:

KATIA CHRISTODOULOU/EPA-EFE/REX)




The Brit will not have to return to Cyprus as part of the appeal process.

“She wants to get on with life, but for her to get on with life she needs to get this conviction overturned,” said the woman’s barrister Michael Polak.

“This will be on her record. It means any time she applies to join an association or for a job she will be thinking back to this and what’s happened to her.”

The case attracted global attention, with women’s rights campaigners protesting outside the court ahead of sentencing in January last year.



Protesters at the Famagusta District Court in Paralimni for her sentencing
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Image:

Andy Commins / Daily Mirror)




Judge Michalis Papathanasiou gave the defendant a four-month suspended sentence, during which time she could not return home.

Mr Polak said the legal team will be arguing the conviction was “unsafe” for a number of reasons, including the judge did not consider evidence she was actually raped.

The lawyer said anytime the defence attempted to present such evidence during the trial, the judge would shout “this is not a rape trial, this is not a rape trial”.

The woman’s mother added: “Imagine being raped then imprisoned because the authorities say you lied, after refusing to hear evidence to the contrary, then having to relive this each time you apply for a job or training course.”







She said it is “difficult to be optimistic” about the outcome of the appeal due to previous experience with Cypriot courts.

Mr Polak said another argument relates to his client retracting the rape claim under pressure from police and without a lawyer present after a seven hour interrogation.

He added that ultimately, the teenager wants to see her attackers prosecuted.



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