A 19-year-old British woman who was reportedly gang-raped in a hotel in Ayia Napa, Cyprus is now at the center of a campaign urging tourists to boycott Cyprus. In the wake of charges facing her for a public nuisance conviction since recanting her allegations, supporters have begun a #BoycottCyprus hashtag on Twitter in response to the guilty verdict this past Monday.
The 19-year-old from Derbyshire was convicted on Monday of public mischief because she retracted her statement 10 days after she reported the alleged rape by a group of Israeli tourists visiting the island paradise. The alleged victim went to police to report being raped by 12 Israeli men in Ayia Napa in July, while she was working the summer touristic season.
Now, the woman’s mother has backed the boycott Cyprus campaign, adding she believes Ayia Napa, where her daughter was staying when the alleged attack happened, is an unsafe destination. Meanwhile, back in Israel, the alleged rapist received a hero’s welcome where epithets against the accusing girl were shouted.
The alleged victim has now claimed she had been forced to withdraw her statement after hours of questioning without access to a lawyer. The reports say the Israeli men she accused have now returned home and she was charged with a public nuisance offense. According to the woman’s supporters, the judge in the case never even heard evidence about whether the alleged rape took place or not. Describing Ayia Napa, the mother told BBC Radio 4’s Today program:
“The place isn’t safe – it is absolutely not safe. And if you go and report something that’s happened to you, you’re either laughed at, as far as I can tell, or, in the worst case, something like what’s happened to my daughter may happen.”
The 19-year-old alleged victim is reportedly suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. She is scheduled to be sentenced on January 7 and faces up to 12 months in jail. Her supporters plan to appeal the case, but say the process could take years. The UK Foreign Office said it would raise the issue with the Cypriot authorities. The FCO described it as ‘deeply distressing’.
The most recent reports also tell of the Cyprus attorney general has been urged to overturn the conviction of British teenager accused of lying about the gang rape by former prosecutors who say the verdict has done “considerable damage” to the country. Petros Clerides and Alecos Markides, two former attorney generals in Cyprus, have sent a joint letter alongside former justice minister Kypros Chrisostomid asking for the current minister to intervene.