A British teenager who claims she was raped by a group of young Israeli tourists at Ayia Napa’s Pambos Rock Hotel in July spoke publicly for the first time about her ordeal on Tuesday.
The 19-year-old, who is accused of public mischief, told Famagusta District court how on the night of July 16 she had initially agreed to consensual sex with an Israeli man called Sam, with whom she said she had “a holiday romance”.
She went with him to his room where they started kissing.
“We had consensual sex that night but then his friends came in and I stopped and said no no, I am not doing that. I wanted to leave. So they left for a moment and Sam told me to lie back on the bed. He then put his knees on my shoulders and his friends came back. There was a lot of shouting and jeering in Hebrew. I tried to cross my legs. I was trying to throw my arms about. I was gasping for air. I don’t know how many raped me because I could not see.”
The woman said she managed to get away when one of the Israelis asked for a condom and Sam let go of her for a second. She run out of the room and at least some of the men followed her. Two tried to block her way while Sam tried to apologise.
“I was screaming and crying. My friends saw me. They took me to the clinic [located just next to the hotel], and the clinic called a doctor, and because I was terrified and tried to hide, he could not assess me and called police.”
The teenager was taken to a police station where she talked to a policewoman about what happened to her, and later to a hospital where she was examined by a pathologist and a gynaecologist.
“The examination lasted about 10 minutes and no colposcopy was done,” she said.
The woman had to wait at hospital “for hours” and by the time she was taken back to the police station “it was getting dark”. She then was asked to give another statement and afterwards was taken by an official from the British High Commission back to the Pambos Rock Hotel where she spent another night.
Defence lawyer Ritsa Pekri, who first cross-examined the teenager, asked her whether during her time at the police station she had problems with communicating with the policemen and she said that that was the case.
“Yes, they struggled to understand me and I struggled to understand them. Several times they asked me to rephrase what I was saying.”
Meanwhile state prosecutor Adam Demosthenous tried repeatedly to show discrepancies in three consecutive statements taken by police from the teenager after the alleged rape, saying: “Our position is you are lying and you fabricated this rape claim because you wanted to take revenge after you learnt they were filming you”, to which the woman replied: “I was raped. It is not fabrication.”
She added that while she had a suspicion she was being filmed while having sex with Sam she could not be sure about it and learnt about the existence of such videos only from police.
The 12 Israelis, who allegedly participated in the rape, were arrested and interrogated in July but later released, with police claiming the young woman had fabricated claims and withdrawn her complaint.
However, the teenager’s legal team claim that her later statement retracting the attack was coerced out of her by police during eight hours overnight questioning without lawyers. In earlier hearings they tried to have the statement dismissed. A forensic linguistic expert testified that the retraction statement was unlikely to have been written by a native English speaker while a psychologist also gave testimony via video-link confirming the young woman was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
However last week trial judge Michalis Papathanasiou ruled the statement was taken correctly and proper procedures followed. He said the defence witnesses were not reliable and dismissed the claims made by the girl and the testimony of the experts.
The court case will continue on Friday with the testimony of defence witness, well-known pathologist Marios Matsakis.
After the retraction was made, the teenager faced one charge of public mischief and spent over a month at the central prison in Nicosia before being allowed conditional bail at the end of August.