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Prison service rejects claims by British teen about poor conditions

The teenager arriving at one of her court hearings

The prison service on Thursday rejected allegations by the British teen convicted of making a fake rape claim in the Ayia Napa case about conditions at the Nicosia prison, saying her claims “in no way correspond to reality”.

The 19-year-old, who on December 30 was found guilty of lying that she had been gang-raped by 12 Israelis at a hotel in Ayia Napa, was held in custody pending trial at the prison for about five weeks before she was released on bail.

On February 2, the Daily Mail published a story in which she said that, during her prison stay, “she was locked up with killers, kept in a cell infested with cockroaches which she shared with nine others, fending off advances from inmates and sleeping on ‘military-style’ bunk beds on plastic sheets.”

According to her interview given to the British paper, she was also attacked by “a woman who’d killed her entire family” and “she dropped a lot of weight because the prison food, typically undercooked chicken and stale bread, made her sick.”

In a written statement, the prison service said that after she made these claims, the UK regional consul for Greece and Cyprus, Clare Douglas, and deputy consul of the British High Commission in Cyprus,  had a meeting with the prison administration on February 5.

“During the meeting they expressed their appreciation for the excellent cooperation of the prisons department with the High Commission,” the statement said.

“At the same time they recognised the work carried out at the prisons, namely the interest and support to inmates, the high level of living conditions, food, education, exercise, recreation, contact with relatives and friends and health services to our inmates,” it added.

The prison service also said that it has close collaboration with the British High Commission and the UK ministry of justice thanks to regular visits to prisons in the UK, “where a number of issues such as education and special programmes for the inmates are constantly discussed.”

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