Police said Thursday it had treated a case of alleged rape in Ayia Napa with the utmost seriousness and sensitivity and had also requested a change of courthouse in a bid to prevent the mobbing by the media of the woman involved.
Spokesman Christos Andreou was commenting on a case involving 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 later said she had retracted under pressure from the police.
It followed a letter signed by 11 organisations asking the authorities to suspend the woman’s prosecution citing 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.
The woman has been freed on bail pending her next appearance on October 15.
Andreou said the claims concerning her treatment will be judged by the court, which is hearing her case.
Concerning her exposure to the media, Andreou said police had written a letter on August 14 asking for a change in venue to protect her from being mobbed. He said the problem was due to the fact that Famagusta court was housed in the same building as various private businesses, adding that the force had recently repeated its request for a change of venue.
Photographers and television cameras are banned from court grounds and in Nicosia for example, they take photos or record footage from outside, which is quite far from the building.
Journalists, however, can approach a suspect but cannot use their phones to record.
The police spokesman said the force had a protocol in place for cases involving violence against women.
In their letter, 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.