Mother of British woman 19 convicted of lying about Aiya Napa gang rape calls for boycott of Cyprus
The mother of the British woman, convicted of lying about gang raped in Cyprus, has called on tourists to boycott the country in protest.
The 19-year-old from Derbyshire was found guilty of one count of “public calamity” after a judge ruled to make up a story about the gang raping by 12 Israeli men at the Ayia Napa party resort in July.
Her mother has supported a social media campaign called “#BoycottCyprus” and an online petition to drop all charges against her daughter as she faces a year in prison.
She revealed that the young woman, who cannot be called for legal reasons, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, hallucinations, and a condition called “hypersomnia.”
She told me BBC: ‘She sometimes sleeps 18 to 20 hours a day. She is also quite withdrawn, which is very sad for me to see. And she also experiences hallucinations.
“She has to go back to the UK to get that treated – that is my absolute primary focus. It cannot be treated here because hearing foreign men who speak loudly will cause an episode.
“It must be resolved otherwise she will have it for the rest of her life.”
The mother of the British woman (pictured with her left side) convicted of lying about raping a gang in Cyprus has called on tourists to boycott the country in protest
Teen supporters are protesting today after the verdict outside the court of Famagusta in Paralimni, Cyprus
Her mother told the Today program that she is afraid that the case will have lifelong psychological effects on her daughter if she doesn’t get the help she needs.
She also noticed the popular party resort where the alleged attack took place “unsafe” and warned tourists to travel there and added: “It is definitely not safe.
“And if you are going to report something that has happened to you, you will be ridiculed as far as I know, or in the worst case, something could happen like what happened to my daughter.”
She also revealed that the teenager’s conviction could influence her career.
The 19-year-old was planning to go to college this year after being hired by all the places where she applied.
Although she has a scholarship for it, she claims that she might be forced to reconsider her career plan and added, “It was in a career she could not do with this” public calamity “verdict.”
Steve Brookstein, the first ever winner of the X factor, tweeted: “Women. If you are #believeher, don’t go to Cyprus. #boycottcyprus’
Femi Oluwole, a political activist and co-founder of the pro-European advocacy group, Our Future Our Choice, tweeted his disgust at the ruling
Another Twitter user said they had fallen ill due to the decision of the judge in Cyprus
Sophie Pettifer, who describes herself as an intersectional feminist and equality believer, said the statement was “dripped in hatred of women”
The family’s legal team says they intend to appeal the woman’s conviction.
More than 5,000 people have signed a change.org petition calling on the Cypriot judiciary to drop all charges against it.
A GoFundMe fundraising page entitled “Help Teen Victim Justice in Cyprus” has already raised £ 81,400.
The woman’s mother said she was “surprised” at the level of support, but says she may need to raise the fundraising goals because the legal costs could outweigh them.
Several celebrities joined thousands of Twitter users who took over the #IBelieveHer and #BoycottCyprus campaign.
Steve Brookstein, the first ever winner of the X factor, tweeted: “Women. If you believe # her, don’t go to Cyprus. #boycottcyprus. ”
A GoFundMe fundraising page entitled “Help Teen Victim Justice in Cyprus” Has Raised £ 81,400
A petition has been launched to drop all charges against the teenager after her conviction today
Meanwhile, Jenniffer Toon wrote: “NEVER with my daughters to Cyprus – we all now see the true colors of your system – it is unsafe for women – be ashamed.”
And Sophie Pettifer tweeted: ‘The actual details of this story are horrible, dripping with hatred of women and a patriarchal judicial system that believes men over their victims.
“Solidarity with this poor woman who withdraws her accusation after NINE hours of interrogation without a lawyer #IBelieveHer present.”
The judge found that the 19-year-old had lied in revenge for being filmed while having sex with a man she had met at her hotel, and added, “She knows she has never been raped.”
In a damn verdict, Judge Michalis Papathansidi said that the only time the teenager told the truth was that she admitted she was “humiliated” after discovering that she had been filmed by a group of Israeli men
In a damn verdict, Judge Michalis Papathansidi said that the only time the teenager told the truth was that she admitted she was “humiliated” after discovering that she had been filmed by a group of Israeli men.
“She didn’t make a good impression on the field,” he said. “She didn’t tell the truth and tried to mislead the court.
“She tried to prevent her from answering and some of her statements could not be accepted. I could not perceive reliability on her part of her defense.
“She has never been clear about what happened. She did not claim the truth and I reject the version that she gave to the court. “
The woman is now faced with a year of imprisonment and a maximum fine of £ 1,450.
The sentence has been postponed until January 7 and her defense team says they are planning to appeal. Prosecutors have called for a “hard” punishment.
When she left the court, the woman gave a thumb to her supporters, while she and her mother wore masks with a pair of lips sewn together and given to them by the crowd.
Zelia Gregoriou, an activist who stood with about 20 people protesting against the verdict, said: “This victim is never protected. Initially, she was raped time and time again by the press, by society and by the legal system. “
They were accompanied by her father and a cameraman filmed a documentary about the case with her permission.
The teenager left the court next to her mother on Monday, while the pair wore masks with the lips of the woman sewn together, handed to them by women’s rights activists
He added: “The accused’s guilt has been proven. She confessed her fault. “
The judge said he found evidence of police officers who conducted the rape investigation to be “honest and truthful.”
He also rejected evidence from a UK specialist who said the teenager was suffering from PTSD when she claimed to be bullied to withdraw the accusation of group rape.
The woman, wearing a sleeveless black top and black pants, showed no emotion because the judge said her guilt was proven.
She could face a year in prison, although her defense team asked the judge to give a suspended sentence.
The woman reacted angrily after the judge announced that he would convict on January 7.
“Why do I have to wait. He found me guilty, “she said.
He said: “Although the team is very disappointed with the court’s decision … we are not surprised by the result given the frequent refusal during the trial of the judge to consider evidence supporting the fact that the teenager was raped .
A judge called the woman an “unreliable witness,” saying she had admitted her own guilt, and “knows she was never raped” when he sentenced on January 7.
“When closing questions from our Cypriot lawyers and providing evidence in the trial on a handful of occasions, the judge stated strictly” this is not a rape case, I will not consider whether it has been raped or not. “
“We have found it incredibly difficult to follow this logic, since an essential element of the crime is that there is a” false statement about an imaginary crime, “and therefore, if the teenager is raped, she cannot be guilty.
“This is a means for the Supreme Court of Cyprus, along with a number of other shortcomings in the trial, which prevented the teenager from hearing a fair trial, as guaranteed by Cypriot law and the European Community. Law and European human rights law.
“Despite the setback today, the teenager who has spent more than a month in prison and 6 months where she was unable to leave Cyprus is determined to do justice in her case and to help the culture towards victims of sexual offenses change in Cyprus. ”
Lawyer Nicoletta Charalambidou added: “The decision of the court is respected. However, we respectfully disagree with it.
“We believe that there have been many violations of the procedure and that the rights of a fair trial have been violated by our client.
“We intend to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, and if justice fails … we intend to refer our case to the European Court of Human Rights.”
During previous court appearances, the woman claimed that she was being held and attacked by a group of men after they had entered the hotel room of a hotel.
Women’s rights activists wave a banner saying ‘the rapist is you’ – inspired by a protest song that started in Chile but has spread throughout the world – demonstrating outside the court
Cypriot women’s rights activists protest outside the court and wear masks with a pair of lips sewn together that has become a symbol of their movement in recent weeks
About a dozen activists attended the hearing and then protested against the verdict in court
But after the dozens of suspects were arrested, the police noticed she had made contradictory statements and said she later admitted that she was lying.
The woman claimed that she was bullied by the police to withdraw her statement with her defense team and argued that the withdrawal could not be invoked.
The 19-year-old woman from Derbyshire is pictured today just outside the court in Cyprus
But after a trial that had spread over four months, Judge Michalis Papathanasiou ruled that she had lied about the original attack and sentenced her to a single public calamit.
More than 20 women from a group called Network Against Violence against Women had invaded the courtroom in Paralimni to hear the verdict.
Nicole Papaleont, 16, said the group wanted to show the woman that she was not alone and that they believed she had been raped.
“We are here because a 19-year-old woman has been raped and yet the men who did this are free and she is on trial.
“This is a political issue and has more to do with relations between Cyprus and Israel. It is wrong that the woman is on trial if she is the victim here. “
Elena Gonata, 36, added: “We want this poor woman to know she is not alone. We are here to show support and to believe that she has been raped. ”
While the defendant was led out of the court with her face blindfolded to shield her identity, 20 protesters were singing, “We are with you” and “We believe you.”
“The way the young lady’s case was handled by the police and the government of Cyprus was wrong,” said one of the demonstrators, Maria Mappouridou.
The woman accused 12 Israeli men of raping her in August, but later robbed the charge, which she said was being pressured by the police. The men (heard in the photo coming to a court in July) have already been released
Some of the Israeli men who were initially accused of rape are being tried on July 25
Some of the accused men celebrate after being released from prison in Cyprus on July 28
Another protester, Helena Gonata, said: ‘everyone will find a reason not to believe her. That is the case with rape – nobody will believe you. “
“We try to encourage women to talk. Many women are afraid to come forward. ”
The teenager from Derbyshire insisted that she be attacked in the early hours of July 17 in a budget hotel where she lived while working in the resort of Ayia Napa, known for its raucous nightlife.
She had started a holiday romance with a 21-year-old Israeli named Sam, who was staying with a group of friends at the Pambos Napa Rocks hotel.
The court heard she had sex with Sam two nights prior to the attack when his friends were in the room and filmed them on their phones.
On the third night they met, she claimed that the same group of men, aged 15 to 22, rushed into the room, held her and raped her.
She ran half naked to friends who took her to a medical center in the hotel. The staff called the police and she described in harrowing details how she had been repeatedly raped.
The police flew into the hotel and arrested a dozen Israelis named by Sam as in his room.
DNA tests showed that three of the men had sexual contact with her, but they all claimed it had been consensual.
The police grabbed their cell phone and discovered that several women had filmed the woman who was having sex with her holiday film.
They had also become suspicious about the story of the teenager after the staff at a five-star hotel she moved to after the alleged attack described how she saw her jump on the bed with two friends because they were so happy with their luxury accommodation.
And when they went to pick her up for further interviews, she was lounging by the pool.
“She didn’t look like a woman who had been raped by 12 men just a day earlier,” said a police source.
‘Of course everyone reacts differently to traumatic events, but this just seemed unusual behavior.
“She just didn’t fit the image of a typical person who has been raped, let alone raped by so many people.”
The police released five of the suspects a week after the incident and said they found no evidence that they had been present.
One of the Israelis could take a selfie that he had taken at the time of the attack, showing that he was in bed with his girlfriend.
The woman was called to the Ayia Napa police station for further questions where investigators said she voluntarily admitted that she had lied about the rape.
The seven remaining Israelis were released without charge and flew home where they were welcomed by family and friends by a hero.
The woman was accused of public calamity and spent more than a month in prison in Nicosia awaiting trial. Her passport was taken away so she could not leave the island.
The bedroom where the teenager claimed the attack had taken place
The room of the Aiya Napa hotel room where the teenager claimed she had been attacked
One of the men was able to prove his innocence thanks to a selfie that his girlfriend of the couple had taken to bed together on the morning that the alleged rape took place
The Justice Abroad campaign group took over her business and her family launched a GoFundMe page that raised nearly £ 50,000 to pay legal fees.
Her legal team tried to exclude the revocation statement in a legal process known as a “process within a process” that would have meant that the indictment would have been withdrawn.
But despite presenting expert evidence from a psychologist who said she was suffering from PTSD and a language specialist who said the cancellation statement was written by someone in broken English, the judge ruled that the police had acted within the law at all times.
Judge Michalis Papathanasiou said that the Brit, who sometimes had panic attacks while standing in the dock and scratching her hands until they were bleeding, could not be believed. He called her an “unreliable witness.”
Prosecutors said she had filed the original complaint because she felt “embarrassed and humiliated” when she heard she was filmed.
An experienced police doctor who examined her said he could not find any visible signs of rape or violence.