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Published on Tuesday, January 7, 2020

British woman convicted of making false rape claim in Cyprus sentenced

A British teenager has been given a four-month suspended sentence after being found guilty of lying about being gang raped by a group of Israeli tourists while visiting Cyprus.

The 19-year-old hugged her family and left court weeping after she was sentenced for public mischief.

Her British lawyer, Lewis Power QC, said she will appeal the guilty verdict, adding that she had been the victim of a 'premediated gang rape'. "This girl was stripped both of her dignity and her human rights," he said.

Her sentence was suspended for three years, meaning she is free to return to the UK. The woman has also been ordered to pay €148 in legal fees.

Famagusta District Court judge Michalis Papathanasiou told her he was giving her 'a second chance'.

Supporters from Cyprus and Israel, including women's rights groups, protested outside court ahead of the sentencing, chanting "Cyprus justice, shame on you", "stop blaming the victim" and "you are not alone".

The teenager had earlier recanted a claim that she was raped in a hotel room in Ayia Napa July, but later said she was forced to do so by Cypriot police - something which the police have denied.

There has been a huge public outcry over the case, with a campaign calling for a boycott of tourism to the country gaining momentum on social media. Protestors have also gathered outside the Cypriot High Commission in London chanting 'boycott Cyprus'.  

UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab is believed to be reviewing travel advice for Britons travelling to Cyprus following the case.

Yesterday, Cypriot newspaper Phileleftheros claimed that, if the judge had passed a custodial sentence, 'the President has already decided that he will pardon the girl, immediately after the ruling'.

A Government source claimed the President would ensure her freedom after 'considering the girl's young age and the outcry which the case has generated both in and out of Cyprus' - and denied it was because of British pressure.

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