Cyprus’s Supreme Court overturned a conviction against a British woman who was accused of lying about being gang-raped in 2019.
The Court on Monday examined an appeal submitted by her lawyers last September. The woman, now 21 years of age, had been handed a suspended four-month prison sentence in January 2020, after being found guilty of public mischief for reporting she was raped in the popular Ayia Napa resort on the southeast coast of the island, in 2019.
In July 2019, she told police that she had been raped by a group of Israeli tourists aged 15 to 22, but was charged when she retracted her initial complaint a week later. She said that she was pressured by the Cyprus Police to withdraw her statement.
In their appeal in September 2021 her lawyers argued that their client`s sentencing and subsequent sentence was “extremely unreliable” and should be overturned. They also stressed that as long as the sentence is valid, it destroys the future of a young woman, who was ultimately the victim of a sexual assault.
In its judgment, the Supreme Court states that even if the findings of the first-instance judgment are based on the credibility of the witnesses, the decision must be set aside, if it seems “so precarious or inadequate that there is doubt in the Court of Appeal on its correctness.”
In her first statements the 21 year-old said that she feels relieved following the Court`s decision today. A statement by her mother, published by the media in the UK says that the verdict today does not justify the way her daughter was treated by authorities, however they are hopeful that positive changes will take place in the way the rape victims are treated in Cyprus.
A solidarity event took place outside the Supreme Court for the young British woman. The event was organised by a network combatting violence against women.