Cyprus Court Gives Brit Who Accused Israelis of Gang Rape Suspended Jail Term

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A 19 year-old British woman that was found guilty of making up claims she was raped by up to 12 Israelis arrives at Famagusta District Court, Cyprus, January 7, 2020.
A 19 year-old British woman that was found guilty of making up claims she was raped by up to 12 Israelis arrives at Famagusta District Court, Cyprus, January 7, 2020. Credit: AFP

A Cyprus court gave a 19-year-old British woman to a four-month suspended sentence after she was found guilty of public mischief for making up allegations that she was raped by a group of 12 Israelis.

The judge said that the evidence showed that the woman had lied and interfered with the police investigation. However, the sentence took into consideration that she had apologized and admitted to making a mistake, had already spent a month in detention over her six-month trial, her age and psychological condition.

Her sentence is suspended for three years and can be activated if she commits a serious offense during that period.

She will be asked to pay a 140 euros fine and is allowed to leave Cyprus immediately. 

The judge added that an injustice was made in arresting the twelve Israelis initially suspected of the rape.

Activists take part in a demonstration, after a British woman was found guilty of faking a rape claim, outside the Famagusta courthouse in Paralimni, Cyprus, January 7, 2020. Credit: YIANNIS KOURTOGLOU/ REUTERS

President Nicos Anastasiades is expected to pardon the woman amid concerns voiced by British Foreign Ministry officials that the case was mishandled by local authorities, according to reports by The Times, Phileleftheros and other media outlets.

Meanwhile, British Foreign Minister Dominique Raab said that the guidelines for British travelers to Cyprus are being examined.

Sources said that the President had made the decision after taking into consideration the woman's age, as well as public outcry in Israel, Cyprus and Britain.

The woman's family has expressed in recent days that her mental health has deteriorated and they fear she will commit suicide. Her lawyer, Michael Polak, said that if she were jailed it would be worse than when she was first incarcerated last year, as she “now has the notoriety of a celebrity”.

Several dozen Israeli activists protested the court decision in Cyprus Tuesday, carrying signs reading "Stop victim blaming" and "We believe you."

"I hope that our support will uplift the young woman and that the Israeli men who hurt her will internalize their serious and offensive actions," said Orit Sulitzeanu, Executive Director of The Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel. Another protest is slated for Tuesday in front of the Cypriot Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Last week, a district court in the town of Paralimni ruled the woman, aged 19 at the time, had lied about being raped. The court ruled that the testimony of key prosecution witnesses were reliable and that the woman's testimony was inconsistent.

The woman was arrested after police said she withdrew an accusation that the Israeli teenagers raped her in a hotel room at the holiday resort of Ayia Napa in mid-July. The court dismissed the woman's claim that she had initially recanted her accusation under duress while being questioned by the police without a lawyer present.

The individuals she had accused of assaulting her were not summoned to court because prosecutors considered it a case of public mischief and not rape.

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