News Local "Do the right thing" UK's foreign secretary says over British teen's alleged...

“Do the right thing” UK’s foreign secretary says over British teen’s alleged rape case

UK’s foreign secretary has urged Cyprus to “do the right thing” in the case of a British teenager convicted of lying about being gang-raped in Ayia Napa in July.

Dominic Raab said Cyprus was “sensitive” about interference, but added that the woman’s sentencing on Tuesday, January 7, was “firmly on my radar”.

He also told the BBC he had spoken to the woman’s mother and offered support.

The 19-year-old was convicted after she recanted a claim that she was raped by 12 Israelis in an Ayia Napa hotel on July 17.

The UK previously said it was “seriously concerned about the fair trial guarantees” for the woman.

And speaking to the Andrew Marr programme on Sunday, Raab revealed he had conveyed his “very serious concerns” about her treatment by the Cypriot authorities to his opposite number on the island.

He said the teenager had gone through a “terrible ordeal” and that he had spoken to her mother on Friday “to see what further support we could provide”.

He added it was his priority to get the woman back to the UK to start her recovery.

Nicosia previously responded to criticism by saying it had “full confidence in the justice system and the courts”.

Asked whether the Foreign Office would advise tourists against visiting Cyprus, Raab said it always keeps its travel advice “under review”.

Earlier, he told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme that the teenager’s case must be handled “sensitively to make sure we don’t do anything counter-productive”.

Asked what he would do if he felt there has been a miscarriage of justice, Raab added: “We don’t control the Cypriot justice system…but there are clear questions around the due process, the fair trial, safeguards that have applied in this case.”

The teenager could face up to a year in jail and a £1,500 fine on Tuesday, but her lawyers have asked for a suspended sentence.

The teenager first contacted Cypriot police in July, hours after she claims she was raped by 12 Israeli youths in a room at the Pambos Napa Rocks hotel.

The 12 were arrested but later freed and returned home after she retracted her claims 10 days later.

She was then arrested and later appeared in court facing charges of public mischief, to which she pleaded not guilty.

The woman has since said Cypriot police made her falsely confess to lying about the incident – something police have denied.

She was found guilty on a charge of causing public mischief on December 30.

The conviction has attracted criticism from women’s groups and human rights campaigners.

Protesters from the Network Against Violence Against Women protested outside the court on the day of the teenager’s conviction.

The woman’s lawyers have also criticised the conviction and the way the case was handled by the Cypriot police and Judge Michalis Papathanasiou.

They pledged to appeal against it and plan to take her case to the island’s Supreme Court.

Senior legal figures in Cyprus later signed a letter written to the Attorney General Costas Clerides asking him to intervene in the case, including former justice minister Kypros Chrysostomides.

Chrysostomides said the teenager had “already suffered a lot” and he expects her sentence will be “very lenient”.

He added: “She has already been in detention for four and a half weeks and she has already been prevented from travelling for about five months.”

The woman’s mother said her daughter was experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, hallucinations, and was sleeping for 18 or 20 hours a day because of a condition called hypersomnia.

She said the teenager urgently needs to return to the UK to get treatment.

The woman’s mother said she believed her daughter’s experience in Ayia Napa was not an isolated incident, and backed an online campaign for tourists to boycott the island.

 

 

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