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Society

After Lying Conviction Overturned, Cyprus Police Review Gang Rape Case

NICOSIA – It wasn’t said if rape charges would be renewed against 12 Israeli tourists but Cypriot police said they are reviewing their handling of a gang rape case in which a British teen was convicted of lying, after she said a confession was coerced.

The incident happened at the Ayia Napa resort in 2019 and set off a fury of indignation by the woman’s supporters and the country’s Supreme Court now has overturned her conviction.

The woman, now aged 21 and not publicly identified, had told police she had been raped by the Israeli tourists, aged 15 to 22, in a hotel room and later said she was pressured into confessing after hours of grilling, without a lawyer.

Cypriot police spokesperson Christos Andreou told state broadcaster CyBC that authorities are studying the court decision and while he said the were “not infallible,” insisted that all legal procedures were followed, which the court rejected.

Andreou said the police would examine whether “mistakes or omissions” had been made during the case investigation in a story picked up by The Jersualem Post which has been following it.

Her lawyers successfully argued she hadn’t gotten a fair trial in which she was given a suspended four-month jail term but only after being kept on the island for months and enduring the legal proceedings.

“A 19-year-old was summoned to the police station in the afternoon for additional testimony as a complainant, only to be questioned as a suspect six hours later, that is after midnight,” it said.

In a statement issued by Justice Abroad, Michael Polak, the lawyer who coordinated the appeal against woman’s conviction, called for the case to be reopened and demanded an inquiry into what went wrong.

“The Supreme Court’s strong stance as to the numerous failings requires an inquiry as to how the police and trial court managed to get things so wrong,” said Polak.

“We hope that the Cypriot authorities will also take the initiative and transfer the matter to a different police force for a proper investigation to take place, which is their legal duty,” he also said.

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