News Local Ayia Napa false rape claim defendant 'left unsupported' by High Commission

Ayia Napa false rape claim defendant ‘left unsupported’ by High Commission

The mother of a British teenager accused of lying about being gang-raped in Ayia Napa has claimed to the BBC that the British High Commission in Nicosia failed to support her daughter.

The Foreign Office said in a statement: ‘Our staff continue to support a British woman and her family following her arrest in Cyprus. We have made a number of visits to her in detention, attended court hearings, and are in contact with her legal representatives and the local authorities about her case.”

The 19-year-old has pleaded not guilty to falsely alleging that she was gang raped by 12 Israeli men at a hotel in Ayia Napa in July. A verdict will be handed down on December 30.

Her mother, using the alias Jenny, said her daughter was in a ‘living nightmare’ and that there has been a lack of consular assistance while her daughter’s human rights were violated in prison.

“You have this concept that if something goes wrong, you’ll be helped by having a British passport – but that’s not my experience.’ Jenny told the BBC.

“I’m shocked that neither the EU or the Embassy or the government through my MP have stepped in to ensure fundamental rights under European law are observed.”

She said her daughter had been suffering from severe post traumatic stress disorder since she alleged that she was raped and she “sees things, she hears things” and is jumpy and uncertain about what is going on around her.

Jenny said a consular officer had visited the prison a few times and managed to arrange for her to see her daughter just once.

Her daughter was released on bail in August but had her passport confiscated so that she could not leave the island.

Last week the teenager left the court in tears after the judge said he would deliver his verdict on December 30.

Jenny said the family were optimistic about the outcome of the trial, but were also “preparing for the worst”.

Her mother told the BBC: “I have no life, I don’t see my friends and family and both of our normal lives are on hold … Being out here over Christmas is a nightmare.”

Her legal team had hoped that the judge would return his verdict before the courts close down in Cyprus on December 20 and allow her to return home provided she was not given a prison sentence.

The family’s lawyer, Michael Polak, told BBC News he was “shocked about the failings” of the Cypriot police’s rape investigation and “how determined” they were “to get her to retract her statement”.

He said his main aim was to stop the woman being convicted and then “she will be a victim again” and police “would have a discretion” as to whether to investigate the alleged rape.

The court, however, has already ruled in a trial within a trial that her statement retracting the rape claim was given voluntarily.

The woman said she was having a holiday fling with one of the men whom she had met at the hotel where she was staying. She said she was having consensual sex with him when a group of his friends burst into the hotel bedroom and carried out the assault.

The woman faces up to a year in jail if convicted. In his closing speech prosecutor Adamos Demosthenous told the court the sex attack was an ‘imaginary crime’ that never took place.

He said the woman had made up the allegation because she ‘felt shame and humiliation’ of being filmed having consensual sex.

The prosecutor said the films shot on mobile phones meant that the alleged victim had to change her story when she appeared in court to give evidence.

In her closing statement her defence lawyer Ritsa Pekri said: “A rape did take place. The prosecution have to prove she was lying and they did not.”

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