A British tourist convicted in Cyprus of falsely accusing a group of Israelis of rape arrived at Larnaca airport Tuesday night to depart for the United Kingdom after receiving a suspended sentence in the case.
“We are delighted to be going home where we will continue the fight to clear my daughter’s name. The fight is not over to get justice,” her mother told the Daily Mail.
According to The Mirror, some 100 supporters greeted her at the airport, around half of them Israeli. The Daily Mail reported that one Israeli told her: “The men you met are not representative of Israel.”
Earlier in the day, a lawyer for an Israeli who was at the center of the alleged rape case in Ayia Napa told the Daily Mail he hoped the woman “learned her lesson.”
Nir Yaslovitzh said his client, who was in a relationship with the young woman before she alleged that he and his friends had gang-raped her, “takes the opinion that justice has been done. She was found guilty by the court of lying and I hope with this sentence she has learned her lesson.
“We respect the decision of the court and of course she was found guilty.”
Lawyers for the young woman have said they plan to appeal the conviction after she returns home.
Yaslovitzh asserted such an attempt would be “stupid… the appeal court will hear the same evidence and come to the same conclusion. It is a crazy thing to do.”
The 19-year-old woman, who has not been named, was convicted by a Cypriot court last week of lying about being gang-raped by 12 young Israeli men at a hotel in the holiday resort of Ayia Napa in July.
On Tuesday she was given a four-month suspended sentence in the case. She was also fined €140 (approximately $150), the Guardian reported.
She was found guilty last week of “public mischief” and was told she could face up to a year in jail along with a fine.
Her defense team have accused Cypriot authorities of a litany of rights failings, and are to lodge an appeal in the island’s supreme court.
The woman’s lawyer, Michael Polak, told Sky News that they will take the case to the European Court of Justice or the European Court of Human Rights if necessary.
Lawyers for the woman say she was raped in the seaside resort of Ayia Napa by the Israeli teenagers in their hotel room on July 17. They say she then fled in distress to her own hotel and was examined by an in-house doctor, who called the police.
A group of Israeli teenagers were arrested and appeared in court, but 10 days after making a complaint of rape the woman was interviewed again by police and signed a retraction.
The Israelis, who ranged in age from 15 to 18, were allowed to return to Israel and not called as witnesses.
Famagusta District Court Judge Michalis Papathanasiou ruled the woman had not told the truth and had tried to deceive the court with “evasive” statements in her testimony.
The judge said the woman had admitted to investigators that she made up the claims because she was “ashamed” after finding out that some of the Israelis had taken cellphone video of her having consensual sex. Police have reportedly claimed the content of the video contradicts the woman’s initial rape claims.
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.
The woman’s mother said earlier this week her daughter is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and hallucinations due to the trauma she suffered from the case. That account was backed up by the report of a psychologist who evaluated the woman after the alleged rape and said her state of mind when she recanted the accusation was not properly taken into consideration during her trial.
After their release without charge, the accused Israelis received a heroes’ welcome when they arrived back in Israel. The Israelis have not denied they had sexual relations with the woman, but claim it was consensual.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomed her release Tuesday, with a spokesman saying London would work with Cyprus and other countries to ensure that such a case could not happen again.