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Rape teen’s mother repeats call for boycotting the island (updated)

The teen leaving court earlier this month

The mother of the young woman from Britain found guilty of lying about being raped by 12 Israelis last summer, reiterated her call on Thursday to holidaymakers to boycott Cyprus, arguing it is not a safe destination.

The woman told BBC radio she supported calls on social media for British holidaymakers to avoid the island.

“My personal view is that’s a good thing to do,” the young woman’s mother said.

“The place isn’t safe – it is absolutely not safe. And if you go and report something that’s happened to you, you’re either laughed at, as far as I can tell, or, in the worst case, something like what’s happened to my daughter may happen.”

Immediately after the Paralimni district court announced last Monday it found the 19-year-old British woman guilty of public mischief for lying about being gang raped by 12 Israeli tourists in Ayia Napa in July, a campaign was launched on social media with the #BoycottCyprus hashtag and a petition to drop all charges against the young woman.

Sentencing has been set for January 7.

The 19-year-old had been arrested after police said she had withdrawn an accusation that the teenagers had raped her in a hotel room in Ayia Napa. She maintained that she had recanted her accusation only under duress from police, during persistent questioning without a lawyer present. Prosecutors and the court dismissed that justification.

The case has attracted widespread media coverage in Britain, which accounted for a third of the 3.9 million tourists who visited Cyprus in 2018. The woman faces a jail sentence of up to one year.

Her lawyers have said she intends to appeal the verdict.

Meanwhile, a psychologist who assessed the teen said on Thursday morning on British TV she is suffering from “extremely frightening” conditions of PTSD and is in desperate need of treatment. Dr Christine Tizzard told Good Morning Britain that she has been in contact with the 19-year-old woman from Derbyshire.

She said the young woman is likely to be experiencing “hyper arousal, emotional numbing, flashbacks, nightmares and hypersomnia.”

The teen’s mother said on Wednesday her daughter is sleeping 18 to 20 hours a day.

“She needs to get back to the UK to get that treated, that’s my absolute primary focus,” the mother said, adding that she can’t receive treatment in Cyprus because hearing foreign men speaking loudly will trigger an episode.

According to her mother, the young woman is also experiencing hallucinations.

The Cypriot government and the Attorney-general said on Tuesday they were not in favour of intervening in cases heard before the Republic’s courts.

Government Spokesman Kyriacos Koushios said the government has full confidence in the judiciary and the courts of the Republic while Attorney-general Costas Clerides argued that any intervention by him would be an obstacle to the establishment of the facts and intervene in judiciary work.

According to the Independent’s Travel Correspondent Simon Calder the hashtag #BoycottCyprus has been trending and it might affect negatively the decision of British people thinking of travelling to the island given that January is the key month for booking summer holidays.

“The boycott call is likely to have little effect beyond British travellers to the island, but they are by far the most significant contingent,” Calder wrote. In 2019, more than 1.3 million British holidaymakers travelled to the island while in August, one in three visitors was from the UK.

So far there has been no reaction from the tourism industry in Cyprus, with an official of the Cypriot deputy ministry for tourism on Thursday referring to the statement earlier in the week by the government spokesman on the matter.

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