Police have asked for the trial of a British teen charged with making a false rape allegation moved to a new location in order to protect her from media photographers, police spokesman Christos Andreoy told the Cyprus News Agency on Thursday.
He acknowledged that there was a problem because of where Famagusta district court is housed and said that police had asked for a change of location in August 14 and had very recently re-submitted this request.
The spokesman’s remarks followed a letter sent by 11 NGOs asking that the attorney general consider dropping charges against the 19 year old British woman and highlighting inadequate protection from media cameras.
She has pleaded not guilty to falsely claiming she was gang raped by 12 Israeli youths at a hotel in Ayia Napa in July and her defence lawyers said that the statement she had given to police had been taken under duress. She is currently free on bail.
Andreou said that police had investigated the case with “seriousness and sensibility” from the start, appointing an investigative team from CID Famagusta.
The case is currently before the court which will decide on the woman’s claims as regards the conditions under which she was questioned and gave a statement, he said.
Andreou said that police operate on the basis of a decree on the handling of violence against women.
Protection of human rights is a police priority and cooperation agreements have been signed with 15 NGOs including Accept LGBTI, the Organisation for the Protection of Victims of Sexual Violence and Exploitation (Stigma) and Association for the Prevention and Combating of Violence in the Family (Spabo), he added.
In their letter to the attorney general and the chief of police, the NGOs had 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.