More than 10 NGOs have written to the attorney general asking he consider dropping charges against a 19 year old British woman on trial for making a false rape claim allegation.
Citing inadequate protection from the media and the protracted judicial procedures, they say the young Briton has been a victim of unprecedented humiliation and hardship.
The 19 year old has denied the charge of falsely claiming she had been gang raped by 12 Israeli youths at a hotel in Ayia Napa in July.
Her defence argues that the statement admitting to a false rape claim was taken under duress.
Her family has launched a fund raiser and brought in British lawyers with Justice Abroad to assist the legal team in Cyprus. The fund raiser has so far received more than 800 donations, raising £35,052 from a target of £50,000.
The teenager spent nearly five weeks in police custody before being released on bail. She is prohibited from leaving Cyprus and must report to a police station in Nicosia once a week. Her lawyer told British media last week that she is suffering from post-traumatic stress.
In a letter to the attorney general and the chief of police, the NGOs asked for the immediate intervention of the attorney general to end the woman’s continued exposure to cameras at Famagusta district court.
“We also asked that he seriously consider the possibility of suspending prosecution, dropping all the charges against her and releasing her immediately,” they said.
The also asked for the attorney general and the chief of police to proceed with the following:
- Investigate the conditions under which Famagusta CID took the initial statement of the 19 year old British woman so that her complaints as regards mistreatment by the authorities can be examined in depth and with corresponding seriousness
- In view of this case, for a review to be carried out on the implementation by police and the courts of the protocol on the handling of complaints of sexual assault and procedures to support victims. Irrespective of the outcome of the specific case, what is clear once more is the non-existent implementation of any protocol for rape complaints, they said.
The NGOs added that they will be filing a complaint with the independent Police Complaints Commission because a woman, who under the constitution of the Republic of Cyprus, is innocent until proven guilty has been humiliated.
They said they will also file a complaint with the media ethics committee over the way the case was presented in the media.
The letter was signed by:
- Mediterranean Institute of Gender Studies
- Cyprus Family Planning Association
- Cyprus Equality Observatory
- Socialist Women’s Movement
- Greens’ Women’s Movement
- Equality Foundation Ipetia
- Organisation for the Protection of Victims of Sexual Violence and Exploitation (Stigma)
- Pancyprian Association of One Parent Families and Friends
- Support Movement for AIDS and CY Checkpoint
- Accept -LGBTI Cyprus
- Association for the Prevention and Combating of Violence in the Family