A British teenager who claimed she was gang-raped by a group of Israeli tourists in the resort of Ayia Napa in Cyprus has been given a four month suspended prison sentence.
The sentence means the 19-year-old, who cannot be named, will be able to return to Britain for the first time since the incident in July.
Judge Michalis Papathanasiou, sitting in Famagusta District Court, said she had been found guilty of “public mischief” but he said he was going to give her a "second chance."
We share the outrage of women in Cyprus protesting the conviction of a 19-year-old British woman who faces prison. UK victims are also put on trial and are sometimes jailed if disbelieved. https://t.co/cCD1OVaSkA— Women Against Rape (@AgainstRape) January 6, 2020
Women’s rights groups protested outside the courthouse and chanted: "We believe you” and “Cyprus justice, shame on you.
The girl, who faced up to a year in jail, hugged relatives after the sentence was passed.
4 months sentence suspended for 3 years for the 19 year old in Cyprus case, a disgusting verdict by a bigoted judge, outrage must reflect world opinion,vote with your feet boycott Cyprus there are plenty of hot spots to sunbathe don’t go to Cyprus until it’s safe to stay there.— pauletteChristineH FREE NAZANINE (@paulett20997141) January 7, 2020
Lawyers for the woman say the case was littered with legal mistakes, including the judge’s repeated refusal to consider whether she was actually raped.
The girl has claimed she was forced to give a false statement by Cypriot police and the controversy has led to some women’s groups in Britain to call for a tourist boycott of the island, which was a British colony until 1960.
The sentence was suspended for three years and the teenager was also ordered to pay 148 euros (£125) in legal fees.
Just imagine if there were to be an online campaign to boycott the UK over our dysfunctional ‘justice’ system. Key evidence withheld from defence; defendants unrepresented; detectives refusing to interview witnesses that might assist the defence. Glass houses... Stones. #Cyprus pic.twitter.com/J4weApcRRv— Simon Warr (@bbcsimonwarr) January 1, 2020
The teenager still maintains she was raped in a hotel room in Ayia Napa on 17 July by 12 Israeli boys.
Afterwards the girl fled to her own hotel and was examined by a doctor, who called the police.
But 10 days later she was interviewed by police and retracted her original allegations.
The Israelis, aged between 15 and 18, were not called as witnesses but were allowed to return home.
"Opening Champagne Bottles & chanted "The Brit is a Whore" at the Ben Gurion Airport on their return home— FreeTheVictim4Justice (@FreeHer4Justice) October 20, 2019
She was called a 'whore' 4 days before the alleged incident & called a prostitute by 1 of the gang (&family) at the Airport
The young girl is facing jail accused of lying https://t.co/WbeSEVeurl pic.twitter.com/K42j2yN80K
Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said he has "firmly and categorically registered" concerns with the Cypriot government about the case.
The governments of Cyprus and Israel have warm relations and are currently jointly investigating gasfields off the Cypriot coast, much to the fury of Turkey which has troops in the north of the island, which is known as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
Last week Greece, Cyprus, Israel and Italy signed a deal to build the world’s longest gas pipeline - linking the four countries. The £5 billion pipeline would bring gas from Israel and Cyprus to Greece and Italy.