Court: UK teen wasn't forced to drop rape claim against Israelis

Judge in Cyprus rules that 19-year-old British woman who claimed Israelis gang-raped her - then retracted claim - was not forced to recant.

Tags: Cyprus

British teen who accused Israelis of rape in Cyprus
British teen who accused Israelis of rape in Cyprus

A Cyprus judge ruled on Thursday that a British teenager accused of falsely claiming she was gang-raped by 12 Israeli tourists was not coerced by police into changing her mind.

Famagusta district court Judge Michalis Papathanasiou said defense witnesses were "problematic" and the trial could proceed after he decided the 19-year-old made a voluntary retraction which was admissible evidence.

He said her version of events "remains essentially unfounded or even unconvincing and cannot be accepted".

"Her version is characterized by contradictions, confusion, lack of logic and exaggeration," Papathanasiou said.

The woman's lawyers had claimed she was pressured into signing a statement written by a detective.

The judge said police had acted properly at all times, with no pressure exerted to change her mind about the initial rape claim.

He dismissed evidence from a psychologist who said she was suffering from PTSD when she signed the statement and from a linguistic expert who argued that a non-English speaker had written the statement.

Defense lawyers had hoped that if the retraction was deemed void the charge would be dropped.

During the 'trial within a trial' the defendant said police were "hostile and negative" and asked her to sign a statement she had not seen.

She also claimed police did not allow her toilet breaks twice when she asked for them.

The prosecution argued that she had been made aware of her rights and that her statement was given voluntarily, not under duress.

The woman has pleaded not guilty to the charge of "public mischief".

If convicted, she could face up to one year in prison and a fine of around 1,700 euros.

Initially, she alleged that 12 Israelis raped her on July 17 at a hotel in Ayia Napa.

The Israelis, aged 15 to 18, were later released without charge after the woman was arrested on suspicion of "making a false statement about an imaginary crime", according to police.

The Israelis have denied any allegation of assault and since returned home.

The next hearing is scheduled for Friday.