PARALIMNI, CYPRUS (AFP) – A Cypriot court yesterday handed a British teenager a four-month suspended prison sentence after convicting her of falsely accusing a dozen Israeli tourists of gang rape.
The 19-year-old, who could have faced up to a year in jail, smiled and hugged family at the end of a trial that sparked protests in Britain and calls for tourists to boycott the island.
Lawyers for the woman said the case was littered with investigatory and legal mistakes and issues, including repeated refusals by the judge to consider whether she was raped.
The sentencing took place to loud shouts from protesters outside the court room, including dozens of Israelis – mainly women, but some men – who travelled to Cyprus to offer moral support to the teenager.
As the judge delivered his sentencing, shouts of “Cyprus justice, shame on you” were audible in the court, despite police ordering journalists to close windows and blinds.
Other shouts from outside included “Judge, shame on you, don’t you have a daughter too?” and “Blaming the victim is a second rape!”
Lawyers for the woman, whom AFP is not naming, said she was raped in the seaside resort of Ayia Napa by 12 Israeli teenagers in their hotel room on July 17.
She fled in distress to her own hotel and was examined by an in-house doctor, who called the police.
A group of Israeli teenagers were arrested and appeared in court, but 10 days after making a complaint of rape she was interviewed again by police and signed a retraction.