A British woman convicted of falsely claiming she was gang-raped in Cyprus by a group of Israelis has urged UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to intervene and bring her home, according to The Sun newspaper on Friday.
“I am 19 and all I want to do is clear my name and come home to my family,” she was quoted as saying by the daily. “Time is running out for me. Please, please help.”
The teenager, who has not been named, was convicted by a court in Cyprus last week of lying about being attacked by 12 young Israeli tourists at a hotel in the holiday resort of Ayia Napa in July.
But she claimed police had pressured her into withdrawing her complaint. The accused Israelis were then released while she was charged and later convicted of “public mischief.”
Britain’s Foreign Office has said it is “seriously concerned” about whether she received a fair trial, and the case has been taken up by rape survivors and rights groups.
A protest march from the Cyprus high commission in London is set to take place on Monday, a day before the woman is due to return to court to be sentenced.
She faces up to a year in prison and a fine of about 1,700 euros ($1,900).
Her family wants London to secure her release, as she has been unable to leave the Mediterranean island since the case began.
Her mother told The Sun her daughter was convicted by a “kangaroo court.”
On Wednesday, a linguist at University of Manchester said it was “highly unlikely” the woman wrote the confession retracting the rape allegation, saying it was more likely Cypriot police dictated to her what to write.
According to the Daily Mail, the confession contained sentences such as “the report I did…was not the truth” and “I discovered them recording me doing sexual intercourse,” which Andrea Nini said was “very compelling linguistic evidence” the retraction was dictated by a non-native English speaker.
“Of the two hypotheses; that it was composed by the defendant or that it was dictated by a local police officer, my conclusion from the linguistic evidence is the latter,” he said.
Nini, who testified at the trial, said it was “very surprising” the Cypriot judge did not accept his argument.
The accused Israelis, aged 15 to 18, were initially arrested in the case but later released without charge. They returned home to a heroes’ welcome when they arrived back in Israel, sporting yarmulkes, with well-wishers opening champagne bottles and chanting “Am Yisrael Chai” (the people of Israel lives) along with “the Brit is a whore.”
The Israelis have not denied they had sexual relations with the woman, but have claimed it was consensual.
One of the Israelis is the son of a senior aide to Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion.
The unidentified official said in July that while he believed in his son’s innocence, “it was something morally wrong on the part of the boys.”
“Someone had to stop this,” he said.
Some in Israel expressed discomfort with the warm welcome that the accused teens received upon their return home this summer. Many Israelis on social media pointed out that even though they were exonerated from the rape charges in Cyprus, they would have faced criminal charges for filming the sex act if the incident had occurred in Israel.
In August, the woman’s lawyer described his client as a victim of revenge porn after the sex video was circulated on WhatsApp and ended up on pornography websites. Israel in 2014 became the first country to ban revenge porn in a bid to prevent the distribution of some pornographic content over the Internet.