British teenager found guilty of lying about Cyprus gang-rape

A 19-year old British woman, right, covers her face as she leaves from the Famagusta court after her trial, in Paralimni, Cyprus, Monday, Dec. 30, 2019. AP Photo/Philippos Christou
A 19-year old British woman, right, covers her face as she leaves from the Famagusta court after her trial, in Paralimni, Cyprus, Monday, Dec. 30, 2019. AP Photo/Philippos Christou
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A British teenager has been found guilty of lying about being gang-raped in Cyprus.

The 19-year-old was convicted of a single count of public mischief at Famagusta District Court in Paralimni on Monday.

She claimed she was attacked by up to 12 Israeli tourists in an Ayia Napa hotel on July 17 before making a retraction statement 10 days later.

The woman insisted in court that she was raped but had been pressured into changing her account by Cypriot police.

But she nodded her head slightly as she was found guilty, showing no other emotion until after Judge Michalis Papathanasiou adjourned sentencing to January 7.

The judge said the teenager did not tell the truth and had tried to deceive the court with "convenient" and "evasive" statements.

He said she told investigators she made up the claims because she felt "ashamed" after finding out some of the Israelis had filmed her having sex on their mobile phones.

Following the verdict, she argued with her lawyers, saying "I thought you were asking for a fine", after Ritsa Pekri asked the judge to impose a suspended sentence, saying that she was under strong psychological pressure at the time.

The woman was a week into a working holiday the summer before she was due to start university when she alleged she was raped by the group of young Israeli men.

All 12 Israelis arrested over the alleged attack returned home after they were released.

The woman spent more than a month in prison before she was granted bail at the end of August and has not been allowed to leave the island.

She is still on bail and could face up to a year in jail and a 1,700 euro (£1,500) fine when she is sentenced.

The teenager was mobbed by photographers and camera operators as she left court with her mother.

Both wore white scarves around their faces depicting lips sewn together - brought by protesters from the Network Against Violence Against Women, who filled the court and demonstrated outside.

The teenager and her mother left the building as defence lawyer Nicoletta Charalambidou told reporters that they plan to appeal against the verdict.

"The decision of the court is respected," she said. "However, we respectfully disagree with it.

"We believe there have been many violations of the procedure and the rights of a fair trial of our client have been violated.

"We are planning to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, and if justice fails ... we are planning to take our case to the European Court of Human Rights."