Brit woman found guilty of lying about Cyprus gang rape aims to clear her name

A 21-year-old British woman has vowed to clear her name after claiming she was pressured by officers to withdraw a rape allegation in Cyprus.

Lawyers representing the Derby woman said they hope the conviction could be overturned after she was found guilty of lying about being gang-raped.

Her team of English and Cypriot lawyers will take the fight to the Supreme Court today, September 16, in the Cyprus capital of Nicosia, arguing the conviction is unsafe and should be set aside.

The woman, who was 19 at the time, told police she was attacked by up to 12 Israeli tourists in a hotel room at the Pambos Napa Rocks hotel in Ayia Napa on July 17 in 2020.

However, she was subsequently charged after signing a retraction statement around 10 days later and handed a suspended four-month jail term. She was flown home from the island just hours after the sentencing.

The woman maintains she was pressured by Cypriot officers to withdraw the rape allegation and has vowed to clear her name.

She is not expected to attend the hearing, which is in front of a panel of three judges, including the English-born president Persefoni Panayi.

Her lawyers have submitted a written document that is approximately 150 pages long, which they will expand on in oral arguments based on transcripts from the trial.

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The legal team will argue the retraction statement, which formed the basis of the prosecution case, should never have been admitted into evidence because it was made by a vulnerable teenager after she spent almost seven hours in a police station without a lawyer.

Barrister Michael Polak, from the Justice Abroad group, said: "Decisions in the Supreme Court tend to come within six months but we hope for it to come sooner.

"The best-case scenario is they listen to all our arguments, come back soon, within a month or so, and overturn the conviction.

"It is very important for the young lady in terms of future prospects, jobs, associations, etc."

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Should the appeal fail, her lawyers plan to then take the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

"With the precedent for us, we are confident in European human rights law," Mr Polak added.

They will also argue that trial Judge Michalis Papathanasiou failed to consider all the elements of the offence of public mischief before finding her guilty, ignored defence expert evidence and failed to consider police failures in investigating the rape allegations.

The 12 Israeli young men and boys, aged between 15 and 20 at the time, were arrested over the incident but denied any wrongdoing and were therefore free to return home.

If you or somebody you know has been affected by this story, contact Victim Support for free, confidential advice on 08 08 16 89 111 or visit their website, www.victimsupport.org.uk.

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