Cyprus Mail

Cypriot organisations join forces to demand British woman in Napa rape case is freed

File photo: the girl being taken to court for a previous hearing Photo: Christos Theodordes

A group of organisations has asked the attorney-general to suspend the prosecution of a 19-year-old British woman charged with public nuisance after she claimed she had been raped by 12 Israeli tourists in July in Ayia Napa.

The woman was charged after she retracted her statement but she later said she had done so under pressure from the police. She is due back in court next Tuesday.

The organisations, including the Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies, the family planning organisations, the equality observatory, the Green party women’s movement, Accept LGBTI, and the association for the prevention of domestic violence, have written a letter to the attorney-general asking for the prosecution to be suspended and the woman allowed to leave.

The organisations noted the unprecedented humiliation the 19-year-old suffered, the inadequate protection from the media, the protracted suffering inside the justice system, but also claims of unacceptable treatment by the police officers who took her initial statement at Famagusta CID.

“Firstly, we are asking for the attorney-general’s immediate intervention to end the continuous exposure of the suspect to the mass media cameras but also to passers-by outside the Famagusta district court,” the letter said.

The also urged the attorney-general to have a serious look at the possibility of suspending her prosecution and immediate release.

The organisations also demanded a probe into the way the police handled the case and a review of the protocols of handling sexual assaults.

“Irrespective of the outcome of the particular case, what appears once again, is the inexistent application of any kind of protocol in rape complaints.”

The organisations said they intend to lodge a complaint with the independent police watchdog, and the journalists’ ethics committee.

After the woman was arrested following the retraction of her rape claim, she entered a not guilty plea in August and was released on bail after surrendering her travel documents and ordered to report to a police station three times a week.

An expert legal team headed by the UK group Justice Abroad in cooperation with local lawyers will be challenging the arrest on the grounds that the retraction was made under duress, and will attempt to prove substantial police mishandling of the case.

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