Cyprus Police Releases U.K. Tourist Arrested for False Gang-rape Claims

The 19-year-old woman pleads not guilty to fabricating rape claims against 12 Israelis, released on bail under restrictive conditions

British teenager arrives at the court in Paralimni, Cyprus, August 27, 2019.
Petros Karadjias / AP

A 19-year-old British woman who was in police custody in Cyprus for over a month after falsely accusing 12 Israelis of gang rape, was released on bail under restrictive conditions on Tuesday.

The woman was charged with giving false testimony to the police in connection with the alleged rape. Giving false testimony is punishable by up to a year in prison, although sometimes a fine can be imposed without a jail sentence.

The 19-year-old woman appeared on Tuesday before a court in Paralimni for the fifth time since she was arrested on July 28, pleading not guilty to fabricating the rape claims against the Israelis.

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The woman's trial will begin on October 2 in Cyprus, and she will be required to report to the local police station three times a week in the interim. According to the Independent, the police have confiscated her passport and she is not allowed to leave the county.

According to Justice Abroad, the NGO providing legal assistance to her family, the woman claimed she was pressured to retract her rape allegations against the 12 Israeli men by the Cyprus police after they threatened to arrest her friends on conspiracy charges.

Ssubsequent police reports stating that the tourist voluntarily recanted her allegations have been denied by the family, Justice Abroad said, citing family members as asserting that she was taken to the police station while on medications, where she provided a another statement about the allegations.

A police officer told her he believed she was lying and urged her to write a confession and that he would arrest her friends in Cyprus if she did not agree. She requested a lawyer and was denied, according to the organization.

British attorney Michael Polak, a member of the NGO, said "this remains a very important case to test the adherence of the Cypriot courts to the rights set out in the Constitution, the provisions in the European Convention, and the directly applicable European Union directives on justice issues. It is important that the Cypriot Attorney General gives strong considerations to discontinuing this matter against the teenager who is a rape complainant and has spent a significant period in prison on remand."