A British teen who was arrested on suspicion of filing a false gang rape accusation against a group of 12 Israeli teenagers has accused Cypriot police of making her sign a confession under duress, UK media reported on Monday.
The unnamed 19-year old woman, who if convicted faces up to a year in prison, claimed that law enforcement officers pressured her into admitting she had fabricated her initial report by denying her access to an attorney and threatening to arrest her friends.
She initially accused the teens, aged 15 to 18, of gang raping her at a hotel in the resort town of Ayia Napa last month after a night of partying.
“The confession was obtained under oppression given the threats made,” her attorney Michael Polak told The Sun. “She was not cautioned and was not given access to a lawyer as was her right under the European Convention on Human rights. Further, the teenager was not told she could leave the police station nor given the option of leaving at any point. It is also understood that unfortunately none of the proceedings at the Cypriot police station were recorded.”
“They’ve just tried to make me sign something else,” the teen texted a friend at the time, according to a screenshot posted by the British tabloid. “I tried to send a photo to my mum. The female officer shouted at me and took it away. I said I’m not signing it without a lawyer. I don’t understand it. They’ve gone stand off. They’ve arrested me.”
“They think it’s a conspiracy and they threatened an international arrest warrant to arrest you all for it,” she warned her friends.
A spokesperson for police in Ayia Napa on Tuesday dismissed the British report as “fake news,” adding “there is no connection between what was published this morning in Britain, and reality.”
During a hearing last week, a local judge castigated the woman, telling her: “Because of your lie, you caused the unnecessary arrest of 12 teens.”
The woman originally told police that two of the suspects held her down by the arms as she cried to be let go. She said that their friends then raped her, taking turns, and that several beat her.
Cypriot police immediately arrested the group of Israelis, holding some of them for nearly two weeks until the woman recanted her claim during questioning, saying there had been consensual sexual contact with some of the suspects. The woman reportedly told investigators she filed the rape report because she felt “angry and insulted” when some of the Israelis recorded video of her having consensual sex with a number of them.
Israeli media outlets said the sex video was being circulated on WhatsApp and had been posted on pornography websites. Her lawyer, Andreas Pittadjis, told reporters that the distribution of the video was more serious than her alleged false statement. Israel in 2014 became the first country to ban the distribution of so-called revenge porn in a bid to protect victims.
The Sun reported that it had seen medical documentation from examinations of two of the Israelis that described “suspicious scratches” on their backs.
“Once again, the accuser has no compunctions about changing her stories like a chameleon changes colors,” Israeli attorney Nir Yaslovitzh, who represented several of the accused, told the Kan public broadcaster on Monday morning. “From what I know of the the investigative authorities in Cyprus, it is clear that she is once again telling unsubstantiated stories and that is what the court will say as well.”
עו"ד ניר יסלוביץ, שייצג חלק מהעצורים הישראלים בקפריסין: "שוב אין למתלוננת שום בעיה להחליף את גרסאותיה כזיקית המחליפה צבעים. מהיכרותי עם רשויות החקירה בקפריסין ברור שהיא שוב מעלה גרסאות שקריות חסרות כל תימוכין וכך גם ייקבע על ידי בית המשפט"@CBeyar
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) August 5, 2019
Some in Israel have expressed uneasiness with the heroes’ welcome that the accused teens received when they returned to Israel early last week. In the arrivals hall, the last seven teens to be released, all wearing white yarmulkes, celebrated their release by opening champagne bottles and chanting “Am Yisrael Chai” (the people of Israel lives) along with “the Brit is a whore.”
In interviews given to Hebrew-language media outlets last Sunday, the Israeli teens said they did not regret or feel bad about the incident.
“I feel great. The truth came out and I am happy,” one said at the airport. Another called it “a miracle from God,” and vowed to sue the British woman for libel.