Ayia Napa Brit, 19, MUST be pardoned over ‘seriously concerning’ rape lie conviction, Cyprus told – The Sun

THE president of Cyprus was today under pressure to pardon a British teenager convicted of lying about a gang rape – as lawyers said she should never have been on trial in the first place.

Advocates in Cyprus and the UK raised serious concerns over the prosecution with one leading barrister saying it "reeks of unfairness and injustice".

The girl, 19, faces a year in jail after a judge ruled she invented the gang rape and found her guilty of public mischief on Monday.

She went to police claiming she was attacked by 12 Israelis who pinned her down and raped her in Ayia Napa in July.

She later withdrew the allegations – but claims that was under duress after eight hours of "aggressive" interrogation without a lawyer.

Prosecutors claimed she made up the rape out of revenge after the youths filmed her having sex with one lad and posted it online.

The Times reports today there is widespread concern among the legal profession in Cyprus over the handling of the case.

Judge Michalis Papathanasiou refused to hear evidence on whether she had been raped – which lawyers say was key to the case.

He also repeatedly berated the teenager for not showing enough "respect" to the court and questioned her claims she was suffering PTSD.

Prominent legal figures in Cyrus have written to the attorney-general asking him to intervene in the case.

Leading human rights lawyer Achilleas Demetriades told the Times: “The authorities should absolutely consider a pardon.”

Elena Ioannides, a commercial lawyer, said the Cypriot legal profession was “very surprised and disappointed that the case has got this far”.

Human rights lawyers in the UK also criticised the conviction.

Kirsty Brimelow QC said the case “reeks of unfairness and injustice”, adding that the teenager could take her case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Jonathan Cooper, a human rights barrister, said that the woman had “very good grounds for an appeal” to overturn the conviction.

He added: “The problem with a pardon is you’ve got to accept that you did something to be pardoned for”.

A crowdfunding appeal to raise money for legal support smashed its £105,000 target yesterday.

Wellwishers – including some in Israel – donated more than £30,000 in the 24 hours after her conviction.


The girl told The Sun the verdict was a "disgrace" and vowed to clear her name, adding: “I’m dedicated to seeking true justice.”

Her mother called the judge "vindictive" and backed calls for a boycott of tourism in Cyprus.

She told Radio 4's Today programme: "The place isn't safe – it is absolutely not safe.

"And if you go and report something that's happened to you, you're either laughed at, as far as I can tell, or, in the worst case, something like what's happened to my daughter may happen."

A million Brits go to Cyprus every year and experts said a boycott could severely damage the island's economy.

The mother also said her daughter is suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and hallucinations, and is sleeping for up to 20 hours a day because of a condition called hypersomnia.

She said: "She needs to get back to the UK to get that treated – that's my absolute primary focus.

"She can't be treated here because hearing foreign men speaking loudly will trigger an episode.

"It needs resolving otherwise she's going to carry on having this for the rest of her life."

The UK government has said it is “seriously concerned” over the fairness of the trial and summoned Cyprus’s ambassador to raise the issue.

Sources at the Foreign Office said they hoped to ensure the protection of a “vulnerable young woman”.

It is understood the attorney-general would wait until after the sentencing next week before making a recommendation to the president.

He has previously said he could not suspend the trial because the girl had levelled "grave accusations" against police that had to be adjudicated in court.

The Cypriot government said: “The executive authority will make its decisions after the completion of the judicial process.”

It said it had “full confidence in the justice system and the courts”.

The hotel room where the woman claimed she was raped by 12 Israeli youths

Supporters of the teenager waved banners and wore stitched-lip masks after the girl was found guilty this week

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