A BRITISH teen has been handed a four-month suspended jail term in Cyprus after being found guilty of making a false rape claim against 12 Israeli men last year.
The unidentified 19-year-old was sentenced today amid speculation that she would be granted a pardon by the Cypriot president.
The teen, whose mother said today she was "relieved", was also handed a fine of €148 (£126).
Her jail term will be suspended for three years.
The judge in the case, Michaelis Papathanasiou, said he was taking into account the woman's age, psychological state, and that she had been in Cyprus for six months, and giving her a "second chance".
The woman was last week convicted of public mischief after withdrawing a claim that she had been raped in a hotel room in July.
She later said Cyprus police had coerced her into recanting the original claim, something police have denied.
'FIGHT GOES ON'
The woman was seen hugging her mum and legal team as her sentence came through.
Speaking outside the court, the woman's lawyer, Lewis Power QC, said the sentence imposed would allow the woman to go home, but that "the fight for her innocence will go on regardless".
He said she had gone "overnight from being victim to being the accused having to endure not only the dreadful physical violation of a pre-meditated gang rape and serious sexual assault perpetrated upon her but also the prolonged mental ordeal under the judicial process in Cyprus."
He added that she had been "diagnosed with severe PTSD and this case has resulted in the deterioration of her mental health."
He said the family would be appealing the woman's conviction, and that they would take the case to the Supreme Court of Cyprus and the European Court of Human Rights if necessary.
DOZENS PROTEST OUTSIDE COURT
Dozens of protesters gathered outside the Famagusta District Court in Paralimni, Cyprus this morning in a show of support for the woman.
Supporters from Israel and Cyprus could be heard chanting "Stop blaming the victim", "You are not alone", and "Mr Judge shame on you, don't you have a daughter too?".
Yesterday also saw more than 100 protesters gather outside the Cypriot high commission in London.
Speaking at sentencing, Judge Papathanasiou said: "Public mischief is a serious crime which distracts authorities from their civil duties and causes distress to innocent people.
"What she did was very serious. Twelve young people were arrested and deprived of their liberty for ten days."
Footballer Shimon Yusufov, 19, has admitted consensual sex with the teen but denied allowing his pals to attack her.
Representing him, Israeli lawyer Nir Yaslovitzh told The Sun: "We respect the decision of the judge and accept the sentence.
"What is important for us is that the judge found her guilty. The important thing is we hope the girl learns her lesson from all this."
PRESIDENT KEEPING 'FULLY BRIEFED'
The teen spoke to The Sun ahead of sentencing about the prospect she would be given a pardon by Nicos Anastasiades.
She told The Sun: “It’s good news and gives me hope I might go home but I am still so apprehensive how things will go.
“I am scared I will get a custodial sentence, but know I have done nothing wrong and am devoted to carrying on fighting.”
It is not yet clear whether Cypriot authorities will still consider pardoning the woman from her suspended sentence.
Reports earlier suggested the woman could fly home to Britain today if a pardon is granted.
Her mum earlier told The Sun: “We are aware of these reports and getting the legal team to check to see what it means.
“She is innocent. The whole family is terrified of the prospect of her going to prison.”
The teen, from Derbyshire, faced up to a year in jail and a £1,500 fine after her conviction.
President Anastasiades is reported to have been kept “fully briefed on the case”.
A source said: “He does have the option of pardoning the girl once the sentence has passed.
"He cannot interfere beforehand.”
On independence day in October the president, 73, pardoned 21 convicts.
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