British woman in Ayia Napa rape case released on bail
The 19-year-old British woman facing trial for a public mischief charge after retracting a gang rape claim was released on bail on Thursday after managing to secure through family and friends the security deposit of €5,000.
The 19-year-old’s conditional release was granted by the Famagusta district court on Tuesday, though she remained in police custody until Thursday due to her family’s inability to immediately come up with the cash.
The British woman was arrested in late July after retracting her claim that she was raped by 12 Israeli tourists at a hotel Ayia Napa.
An expert legal team headed by the UK group Justice Abroad in cooperation with local lawyers Nicoletta Charalambidou and Ritsa Perki will be challenging the arrest on the grounds that the retraction was made under duress.
“We are very pleased that our legal team has managed to secure bail for the teenager. She has spent a significant period in custody after being taken to the police station by the Cypriot police alone and without the assistance of a lawyer. We hope that with the proper preparation that this case requires we will be able to secure justice for her,” Justice Abroad’s Michael Polak said on Thursday.
At Tuesday’s hearing, the 19-year-old entered a plea of not guilty, moving the matter to trial, set to begin on October 2
Judge Angeliki Karnou granted the 19-year-old’s release on bail. A cash guarantee of €5,000 was imposed, and an additional guarantee of €15,000 was requested in writing.
The 19-year-old was also asked to surrender her travel documents and ordered to report to a police station three times a week.
Her defence said they plan to make written submissions to the attorney general to discontinue the case against the 19-year-old.
The defence will attempt to prove substantial police mishandling of the case which shook Ayia Napa last month when the 19-year-old claimed she had been raped. Days later she recanted, before saying she had done so under duress.
Answers will be sought as to what prompted the 19-year-old to withdraw her rape claim, which led to her arrest on grounds of public mischief, and why all the 12 Israeli teens that were initially arrested were released and sent back home so quickly.
Justice Abroad noted that initially the matter will take the form of a trial within a trial, whereby the prosecution will have “to prove that the retraction statement was not obtained through oppression nor circumstances which were likely to have made it unreliable to the criminal standard, beyond reasonable doubt, and if they are unable to do so, that evidence [will be] excluded from the trial.”
Only then will the trial shift to focus on whether the woman lied about being raped, they said.