Cyprus Mail

Crowdfunding for Napa false rape claim case exceeds target

File photo -The 19-year-old being led into court (Christos Theodorides)

Donations continue to pile up for a crowdfunding campaign to cover the legal fees of a 19-year-old British woman who claims she was forced by Cypriot police to withdraw a gang-rape complaint, with contributions surpassing £21,500 by Monday.

The initial goal of £15,000 (€16,156) was exceeded just days after the campaign was launched by the girl’s parents on GoFundMe. By Monday, the fourth day of crowdfunding, 483 people had donated, raising £21,538 (€23,184).

An update on the crowdfunding page states that the initial target sum may prove inadequate to fully cover the 19-year-old’s legal fees, and so donations will continue to be collected and the target will be amended once the true budget becomes clear.

The 19-year-old’s family will be using the funds to battle a public mischief charge keeping the British woman in remand. She was charged after withdrawing her claim that she was gang-raped in Ayia Napa by 12 Israeli teens in mid-July, who were arrested and subsequently released.

On the crowdfunding page, the family claims the 19-year-old’s admission to filing a false rape claim “was given under duress and in breach of her rights, resulting in the collapse of the initial investigation and charges of public mischief being made against her.”

Following the legal battle, any excess funds will be allocated to related women’s rights and legal charities, the crowdfunding text states.

Among the donors was a significant number of Israeli citizens, one of whom donated a whopping £7,500.

Last week, the woman’s Cypriot lawyer, Andreas Pittadjis, resigned, citing serious disagreement with his client about how to handle the case.

The woman’s mother, currently in Cyprus, told the press that the family decided to accept legal assistance from the British legal group Justice Abroad. Together they plan to assemble an expert legal team from both the UK and Cyprus in order to challenge the many breaches of the teenager’s rights they claim took place since the case first started.

The 19-year-old is due back in court on August 19.

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