British Woman in Cyprus Gang Rape Case Charged With Giving False Testimony

Court extends remand of 19-year-old who reportedly told investigators she was upset about being filmed while having consensual sex

Elite police unit officers escort a 19-year old British woman, center with head covered, to Famagusta court in Paralimni, Cyprus, Tuesday, July 30, 2019.
Petros Karadjias,AP

A Cyprus court ordered a British tourist who accused a group of Israeli teens of having raped her held for another eight days, after her allegations turned out to be unfounded. 

Her lawyer, Andreas Pittadjis, told Haaretz the 19-year-old, indicted Tuesday for public nuisance, could be sentenced to up to one year in prison or ordered to pay a fine for “misleading the authorities." 

A hearing was originally scheduled for Monday in the court in Paralimni, but local media reported that because the woman’s lawyer had not yet arrived in Cyprus the hearing had to be postponed. The Cyprus national press agency reported that the court had extended her detention because it was feared she would leave the country.

An Israeli teenager is embraced by relatives after being released from Famagusta police headquarters in southeast town of Paralimni, Cyprus, Sunday, July 28, 2019.
Petros Karadjias,AP

The British Consulate in Cyprus told Haaretz that it is in contact with the government authorities concerning the case while providing her and her family with support.

The Israeli teens initially held on suspicion of rape returned to Israel on Monday the day after the tourist was arrested.

The young woman reportedly told investigators that she filed the rape complaint because she was “angry and insulted” that a number of the boys, ages 16 to 19, had recorded a video of her having sex with some of them, which spread on social media last week.

Non-consensual documentation of sexual acts as well as its distribution is a criminal offense in Israel. 

The woman's lawyer, Andreas Pittadjis, told Haaretz that the woman is being charged with giving false testimony to the police in connection with an alleged crime that never occurred. Giving false testimony is punishable by up to a year in prison, although sometimes a fine can be imposed without a jail sentence.

One of the teens’ fathers told Haaretz: “I’ve always said, our children were innocent and not guilty. We know our kids, and if they’d been in a similar situation they would have prevented it.” He also said the family “intends to press charges against the accuser.”

The mayor of Ayia Napa Yiannis Karousas tweeted on Sunday: "The rape proved to be fake. The so called victim stated that everything was consensual, and that she invited them. She has been arrested. Time to publish the truth and be a bit nicer to our city."