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Cyprus

Napa rape claim woman released on bail (update 2)

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

A 19-year-old British woman pleaded not guilty on Tuesday in connection with making a false claim after initially alleging she had been raped in Ayia Napa by a group of Israeli tourists but later retracted.

The youths were arrested following the report in July but were released without being charged after the 19-year-old retracted her claim, telling police she did it because she felt angry and insulted when some of the Israelis recorded video of her having sex with a number of them.

The woman was released on bail pending her trial, which is set to start on October 2.

Judge Angeliki Karnou stressed that should the 19-year-old be kept in remand until her trial date, she will have been detained for a period of over two months, something which she said is excessive in view of the maximum penalty of one year or a fine of €1,808 that she is facing if found guilty of public mischief.

The 19-year-old surrendered her travel documents and was ordered to report to a police station three times a week.

Her defence, coordinated by the UK group Justice Abroad, said they plan to make written submissions to the attorney general to discontinue the case against the 19-year-old.

The defence will attempt to prove substantial police mishandling of the case which shook Ayia Napa last month when the 19-year-old claimed she had been raped. Days later she recanted, before saying she had done so under duress.

Answers will be sought as to what prompted the 19-year-old to withdraw her rape claim, which led to her arrest on grounds of public mischief, and why all the 12 Israeli teens that were initially arrested were released and sent back home so quickly.

In a written statement after the hearing, Justice Abroad said that “the teenager’s case is that she has not lied about being raped and that oppression was used by the Cypriot Police in order to get her to retract her rape allegations and that the purported retraction statement is unreliable.”

The group noted that initially the matter will take the form of a trial within a trial, whereby the prosecution will have “to prove that the retraction statement was not obtained through oppression nor circumstances which were likely to have made it unreliable to the criminal standard, beyond reasonable doubt, and if they are unable to do so, that evidence [will be] excluded from the trial.”

Only then will the trial shift to focus on whether the woman lied about being raped, they said.


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