The Supreme Court has quashed the conviction of a British woman found guilty by a lower court of faking a claim that she was gang-raped on the Mediterranean island in 2019.
But the question is how justice will now prevail with analysts stressing Monday’s decision by the three-member court was nothing else but a slap on the face for Cyprus’ justice system.
The question is whether the woman’s call for a new investigation means the Israeli youths involved in the rape and who were released hours after her alleged statement that she had lied to police will be re-arrested.
“The acquittal by the Supreme Court…points to the failure of the authorities to effectively investigate the rape claims she reported. This is what we will now pursue,” said Nicoletta Charalambidou who is one of the Cypriot lawyers for the then 19-year-old woman.
“If justice is to be done, an authority would need to pick up on the evidence that was gathered in Cyprus and do with it what should have happened at the outset.”
The woman appealed in September against the January 2020 verdict of Famagusta district court which gave her a suspended four-month prison sentence.
The case caused dismay in Britain and among activists over her treatment by authorities in Cyprus.
She had complained in July 2019 that she had been raped by a group of Israeli youths in the resort of Ayia Napa. Days later the complaint was withdrawn, leading to her arrest and subsequent conviction for public mischief.
The woman, who spent several weeks in custody, said she withdrew her complaint under duress after hours of police questioning and without a lawyer present, being offered one, or waiving her right to a lawyer.
The Israeli youths were released hours after her statement, and allowed to return to Israel on the same day with no further process.
They were not required to give any evidence at the woman’s trial because the case focused on whether she had misled authorities and given a false statement, rather than the alleged rape itself.
Police said they would study the verdict as political parties in Nicosia call for authorities to review the case and take disciplinary action against police for any failings.