British teenager in case of rape urges Boris to bring her home


Dressed in black and standing silently before the judge in a packed courtroom, the woman, who can not be identified for legal reasons, was sentenced on Tuesday to four months in jail, suspended for three years.

The lawyer added that the ordeal had been a nightmare for the young woman's family, with her mother quitting work in order to remain in Cyprus with her for the duration of the case.

Judge Michalis Papathanasiou, sitting at Famagusta District Court, said he was taking into account her age, psychological state and the fact she had been in Cyprus for six months, including a month behind bars.

The woman originally went to the police in Cyprus to report that she was allegedly sexually assaulted by 12 Israeli men in a hotel room in Ayia Napa.

Later, the woman claimed police had pressured her into withdrawing her complaint and a linguistics expert witness who testified at the trial said the grammar of her retraction did not appear to be that of a native English-speaker and was likely dictated to her.

Britain's Foreign Office has said it is "seriously concerned" about whether the woman received a fair trial, and the case has been taken up by rape survivors and rights groups, including in Israel.

Last week, she was found guilty of the offence of "public mischief" - in other words, of falsifying an allegation of a crime.

Since the alleged attack, her mother said her daughter is fighting PTSD and hallucinations, and that she is sleeping up to 20 hours a day due to a condition called hypersomnia.

Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades will reportedly not let the 19-year-old go to prison and she will be handed back her passport and given free passage to the United Kingdom because of the furore over her case.

The jail sentence is suspended for three years, meaning if she commits a crime in this time she will go to prison.

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Papathanasiou also fined the woman 140 euros (AUD$227) and told her defence lawyers that the sentence could be activated if she commits another serious offense within three years.

Her lawyers have pledged to appeal the conviction - a charge of having "wilfully indulged in public mischief" at the Cyprus Supreme Court, determined to clear her name.

The Foreign Office have expressed "serious concerns" about the "deeply distressing" case, while worldwide condemnation has rained down on Judge Michalis Papathanasiou for his handling of the case.

The woman is now allowed to leave the Mediterranean island, and her family said she would return to England immediately.

Some chanted "Cyprus justice, shame on you", "stop blaming the victim" and "you are not alone". She then made a statement exonerating the men, which her lawyers argued was made under duress.

Her lawyer, Lewis Power, said she would be returning to the United Kingdom on Tuesday.

Anna Kleiman, of the Israeli activist group LOTEM, called the woman's conviction "disgraceful" because it leaves her with a criminal record and makes it hard for her to "pursue her dreams".

"The place isn't safe - it is absolutely not safe".

Addressing applauding protesters, she said: "I just want to thank each and every one of you for turning up today, having belief, having faith and making sure we get justice".