British teen pleads not guilty in Cyprus rape claim trial
The court adjourned the trial until October 2 and the 19-year-old was released on 20,000-euro bail on condition she surrenders her passport and presents herself to police three times a week.
Her Cypriot lawyer Nicoletta Charalambidou informed the court that she will request that the Cypriot attorney general suspends criminal proceedings against her client on the grounds that her rape claim retraction was coerced.
The teenager was also represented at the Famagusta District Court in Paralimni in southeast Cyprus by British lawyer Lewis Power QC with Michael Polak from British legal aid group Justice Abroad supporting the legal team.
If convicted the woman, who has not been named, could face up to one year in prison and a fine of around 1,700 euros.
Initially, the teenager had alleged that 12 Israelis raped her on July 17 at a hotel in the resort of Ayia Napa, a magnet for younger tourists attracted by its beaches and nightlife.
The Israelis aged 15 to 18 were released last month after the woman was arrested on suspicion of “making a false statement about an imaginary crime”, according to Cypriot police.
Justice Abroad, which is assisting the teenager, says she did not voluntarily retract the rape allegation.
Polak, a British barrister with the organisation, has said the woman was refused legal representation, despite requests and in contravention of the European convention on human rights.
Her parents are seeking donations for their daughter’s legal defence by setting up a GoFundMe page which has already raised 23,556 pounds (around $28,900, 26,000 euros).
“We maintain that the statement was given under duress and in breach of her rights, resulting in the collapse of the initial investigation and charges of public mischief being made against her,” the parents said on the page.
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