The Cyprus Mail Reports: A demonstration is being organised outside the Famagusta district court on Tuesday in support of a British teen being sentenced for public mischief, after alleging she was gang-raped this past summer in Ayia Napa, the non-governmental organisation Kisa said on Friday.
Kisa called on people to gather outside the court at 8:30am, to show support for the girl, 19, who faces up to a year of jail-time for the conviction.
The teen alleged she was raped by up to 12 Israeli tourists in a hotel room in the resort on July 17, but she has said Cypriot police forced her to sign a retraction statement which led to her being convicted of public mischief.
Earlier on Friday, the girl appealed to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to bring her home, according to reports in UK media.
Kisa, on its part, said they were on the girl’s side from the first moment the case was brought to light. The NGO also brought to light several other issues guests have had at the hotel where the girl stayed.
One girl, based on Trip Advisor reviews, said she was almost raped, after her hotel room was broken into by an unknown man.
The statement posted by the former hotel guest on July 18, 2019 said: “Please do not stay here. I’m writing this review a month on from my stay at this hotel and I’m scarred from my experience.”
She added she is 18 and that one night after feeling unwell from sunburn, she returned to her room and got ready for bed. The website user said she was awoken by a man, who broke in through the balcony door, who flipped her over, pinned her down and attempted to rape her. She claimed she told hotel staff, who did nothing about the incident and didn’t change her room or call police.
Regarding the British teen awaiting sentencing, Kisa said the girl found the hotel through an advertisement posted online at the summertakeover.com/resort/ayia-napa/ website, which stated: “Finding your dream job in one of our amazing resorts couldn’t be easier when you travel with …….Summer Takeover. Our experienced reps are there to guide you every step of the way to ensure that you find your dream summer work.”
According to Kisa, the girl found anything but a dream job, as when she arrived instead of finding a safe place of work, she found ‘horrible’ conditions and was given a ‘24-hour free drinking bracelet’ by the hotel.
“No one knows how much drink and what else was given along with that,” Kisa said, adding it was a method to lower inhibitions and drive people to abuse substances easily.
Earlier, the teen told The Sun newspaper: “Every second of this ordeal has been a waking nightmare.”
“I’m 19 and all I want to do is clear my name and come home to my family,” she added.
“I would say to both the Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister, both of whom are fathers, please support me with your actions, not just with your words.”
The paper also reported that the Foreign Office had on Thursday contacted the teenager’s family for the first time since she was convicted.
When contacted for comment, Number 10 reissued the Foreign Office statement from the day of the woman’s conviction, saying it was “seriously concerned” about the “fair trial guarantees in this deeply distressing case and we will be raising the issue with Cypriot authorities”.
Pressure has continued to mount on the Cypriot authorities over the case, and one of the country’s former justice ministers said the public in Cyprus feel the 19-year-old “has been punished enough”.
Kypros Chrysostomides, who has commented previously on the case, was among a number of prominent legal figures in Cyprus who wrote to attorney general Costas Clerides urging him to intervene in the case.
He told BBC Breakfast on Friday: “The majority of the public in Cyprus feels that the young lady has already been punished enough. We believe that the attorney general, who is the appropriate organ to exercise, initiate or discontinue criminal proceedings, should have done that already for the public interest.”
“We respectfully suggested that, along with other ex-officials like myself and senior lawyers, but his reply was that proceedings were already in process and therefore he could not interfere in the Court of Justice proceedings.”
Michael Polak, a British human right lawyer from Justice Abroad, a legal aid group providing help to the teen’s family, told The Independent she was a victim of a “grave injustice and should be pardoned”.
“There are calls for the attorney general to take over her case and end it. We are calling for him to intervene. We believe she should never have been put on trial. We want the teen to leave Cyprus without a conviction.”
Former attorney general Alecos Markides also spoke out and wrote to Clerides last November. He has said publicly: “Is the Cypriot justice system so inflexible that it would not allow some leniency to a 19-year-old girl, who had no prior run-ins with the law and was exposed in a video that she did not circulate herself, and so on, how are we going to justify all this?”
COMMENT: This goes beyond what we perceive as the truth, we may all look in to it, read whatever we can and form an opinion, but it is just that, an opinion, it is wrong for people to pick on slithers of information and go off on tangents and I for one am sick of seeing the same handful of people on so many Cyprus Mail threads, making every issue a political slanging match about Cyprus and Turkey.
The most important and relevant facts are that the Judicial process was not conducted correctly. Due to the fact that there have been many question marks about the Cypriot Police, it was made compulsory for the accused to have legal representation. If they insist that they do not, they are required to sign a statement to that effect in front of a whiteness. I am personally aware of cases involving British Nationals, who were requested to go on call the the British Commissioner, confirming their refusal for representation first.
This was not done, that retraction is not worth the paper is is written on, it was not a legal basis for those boys to have been released and it certainly was not grounds to prosecute the poor girl, who has since been found guilty in a Kangaroo court (is there any other type in Cyprus?) as there is no trial by Jury, making her the victim yet again.
Since this case has been brought to the attention of the public, other women, or their families have spoken up to say that they have had similar treatment, by the Cypriot Police in the past.
We may not know the full timeline of events on that night, but we do know that that posting that video without her permission is a crime and if it were purely about that, the girl could have reported them for that only. On the balance of probability, the girl had withdrawn her consent at some point and it was not respected, why do so many people refuse to accept that NO MEANS NO???
Whatever the course of events, this has highlighted the failings of the Cypriot Police and judicial system, not before time and if there is one thing that is legally factual it is this, those boys should not have been released based on a statement signed under duress, the girl should not have been charged, she should not have gone to trial and she should have NEVER been found guilty.
This case could more damaging for Cyprus than anyone could imagine, but perhaps that is a good thing, because there is no doubt that the Cypriot Police need serious investigating.