An ITV documentary, “Believe Me” says it has new testimony about a British teen found guilty of making a false rape allegation in Ayia Napa.
This new documentary in ITV’s Exposure current affairs strand features the first television interview with a young British woman who says she was brutally gang-raped in Cyprus but ended up being prosecuted, ITV says.
The woman was given a four month suspended jail sentence for public mischief and has returned home. She says she was coerced by police into retracting an earlier statement that she had been gang raped by 12 Israeli youths at her Ayia Napa hotel last July and has appealed her conviction.
Fronted by ITV News anchor Julie Etchingham, the programme speaks exclusively to the woman, her mother, friends, and the man who stumbled upon her and the alleged rapists shortly after the crime is said to have taken place in Ayia Napa.
With new footage from the case, access to her friends’ text messages from the time, and contributions from expert lawyers, the programme asks what really happened that night, and explores whether the woman was subject to a miscarriage of justice after she apparently changed her story, saying the whole thing had been made up.
The documentary follows the story of the woman, called Emily in the show, who had consensual sex with a man during a holiday fling.
But she says that she was later held down and raped by his friends.
One of those who had been on the trip with her at the time said he arrived at the apartment and found Emily surrounded by the gang.
She said that police had forced her to retract her statement: “There was no other way out of that police station other than [to] sign that retraction statement. I thought, ‘As soon as I am outside this volatile environment I can sort this out.’ When you’re in that situation, the only sensible thing to do is to conform.”
The documentary features her barrister, Lewis Powers, who slams police failings as a” ‘disgraceful miscarriage of justice”.
Her defence lawyer at trial, Nicoletta Charalambidou, says Cyprus has a culture of not believing women’s claims of rape.
She says: “I do not understand why it’s easier to believe that a woman was not raped, rather than believing she was raped. Because if you wanted to believe her… All the evidence was there to conclude that there was rape.”
The Cyprus police have said their investigation was handled with professionalism and they deny improper conduct.
Believe Me: The Cyprus Rape Case airs on ITV at 10.45pm UK time, Tuesday, April 14.