A teenager who was found guilty of lying about being gang-raped in Cyprus has launched an appeal against her conviction.
The 19-year-old woman had claimed she was assaulted by up to 12 Israeli tourists while on holiday in Ayia Napa last July – but was charged herself after signing a retraction statement.
Last week, a judge gave her a four-month jail term – suspended for three years – enabling her to fly home to Derbyshire.
Image: Protesters supported the woman outside court
The teenager maintains she was raped – and she has accused Cypriot police of pressuring her to change her story.
In the grounds for appeal against the public mischief conviction, submitted on Thursday to the Supreme Court of Cyprus, her lawyers claim that:
Her retraction statement should not have been allowed as part of the trial as she had been detained for nearly seven hours without a lawyer and a translator when she gave it
The statement should have been excluded from evidence as she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and a forensic linguist has said the words in the statement are “highly unlikely” to be hers
The court’s reliance on the retraction statement as evidence that she lied about being raped was against her right to a fair trial
The judge did not give the teenager a fair hearing as he continuously shouted “this is not a rape trial, I don’t want to hear evidence about rape” – and prevented her team from examining evidence which supported her account of being raped
The court did not properly consider DNA evidence of three of the Israeli youths on a condom which also had her blood on it
The court did not properly consider evidence from two English youths and the hotel doctor about the state of the teenager when they found her on the night of the incident
The court failed to explain why all prosecution witnesses were found credible but it immediately discounted evidence from all defence witnesses
It says the court did not hear from the Israeli youths so relied only on the teenager’s testimony
The court failed to take evidence of a pathologist into account, who said her injuries supported her statement about being gang-raped.
Image: The British teenager was convicted of lying about being gang raped in Cyprus last summer
Michael Polak from Justice Abroad, which is co-ordinating her appeal, said the grounds of appeal are “strong” and they hope proceedings will be fast so this does not hang over the teenager any longer.
He added: “When the trial proceedings are considered dispassionately, it is clear that the teenager did not receive a fair trial before the Famagusta District Court and that her unfair treatment, and the treatment of her representatives and witness was in clear contrast to the treatment the prosecution and its witness experienced.
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“The conviction of the teenager not only breaches the teenagers rights under Cypriot law, but it also amounts to a breach of Cyprus’s international obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and as a member of the European Union.”
Her lawyers say they are determined to take the case to the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights if the appeal is not upheld.
Source : Sky News