News Local Foreign Office 'seriously concerned' about fairness of Briton's trial

Foreign Office ‘seriously concerned’ about fairness of Briton’s trial

Britain’s Foreign and Commonweath Office said it was “seriously concerned” about the fairness of the trial of a 19 year old Briton found guilty on Monday of lying about being gang-raped by Israeli youths six months ago, philenews reports.

According to Reuters, in an email statement released through the British High Commission in Nicosia, the Foreign Office said: “The UK is seriously concerned about the fair trial guarantees in this deeply distressing case and we will be raising the issue with the Cypriot authorities.”

The British media have been critical of the handling of the case by Cypriot authorities on the basis of statements by British and Cypriot human rights lawyers.

Michael Pollak, a barrister with the legal aid group Justice Abroad and member of the team defending the Briton told the BBC that the court based its decision on a statement of withdrawal of the initial rape claim which the 19 year old signed without the presence of a lawyer which constitutes a violation of European legislation on human rights.

Pollak was also critical of the judge’s refusal to hear depositions regarding whether the rape did take place or not.

The teen’s mother told ITV that the verdict is unheard of adding that it would be very wrong if the Cypriot judge decides her daughter should spend more time in prison than the 4 1/2 weeks she spent there until she was released on bail.

Sentencing will take place on January 7.

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