The prison service on Thursday rejected allegations by a British teen convicted of making a fake rape claim about conditions at Nicosia prison, saying these “in no way correspond to reality”.
The 19 year old was held in custody pending trial at the prison for about five weeks before she was released on bail. She was found guilty on December 30, 2019 of lying she had been gang raped by 12 Israelis at her hotel in Ayia Napa and in January handed down a four month suspended jail term.
She says she was coerced by police in retracting her initial complaint, has appealed in order to clear her name and is back in the UK.
There she has given interviews saying she had been locked up with killers in a cell infested with cockroaches, sleeping on ‘military-style’ bunk beds, on plastic sheets with scratchy wool blankets to which she was allergic. She lost weight because the prison food made her sick, suffered nightmares and was given anti-panic medication.
In its written statement, Nicosia Prison said that in the light of these claims, two UK consular officials — regional consul for Greece and Cyprus Clare Douglas and deputy consul Christina Smith of the British High Commission in Cyprus had requested a meeting with the management of the prisons. This was held yesterday.
“During the meeting they expressed their appreciation for the excellent cooperation of the Prisons Department with the High Commission in the last five years, fully recognising the work carried out at the prisons, the interest and support to inmates as well as the high level of living conditions, food, education, exercise, recreation, contact with relatives and friends and health services to our inmates,” it said.
The announcement added: “Being aware of the handling of the case of the British woman by the prisons from the first day of her custody until she was free, they expressed their sadness as the content of her claims, which as was explained with documentation, in no way corresponds to reality.”
A meeting will also be held soon with the British High Commissioner in Cyprus.
The prison service said that it has a close cooperation with the British High Commission and the UK Ministry of Justice with visits to prisons in the UK and the Justice Ministry in London where a number of issues including education, specialised programmes for vulnerable groups of inmates and others were discussed.
It was agreed that this cooperation would continue and be expanded, it concluded.