A 19-year-old British woman who accused a group of Israeli youths of gang raping her in Cyprus has pleaded not guilty to charges of making up the accusation.
A judge set the start date of the trial for 2 October and released the woman on bail, finding it “proper and fair” to free her after she spent nearly two months in police detention.
The woman surrendered her travel documents and must appear at a Nicosia police station three times each week. She has also been placed on a stop list prohibiting her departure. The woman posted bail of €5,000 (£4,500) in cash, while her father, who was present in the courtroom, guaranteed a bond of €15,000.
Her defence lawyers claim investigators used “oppression” to make her retract the allegation that she was gang raped at a hotel in Ayia Napa last month. Cypriot authorities strongly deny the retraction was coerced, saying she volunteered the statement in writing.
Michael Polak of Justice Abroad, a group assisting with the woman’s legal defence, said: “The teenager’s case is that she has not lied about being raped and the oppression was used by the Cypriot police in order to get her to retract her rape allegations.
“The purported retraction is unreliable because of what happened in the police station.”
Polak said the defence team would present evidence at the trial that the woman had not lied about being raped.
Five Israelis were initially freed in late July after no evidence was found linking them to the case. The remaining seven were released three days later after police said the woman retracted the rape allegation.
Polak said the case was a test of the Cypriot legal system’s adherence to Cypriot and European conventions and said defence lawyers would ask the attorney general, Costas Clerides, to drop the case “after considering the facts”.
The woman’s legal expenses are being funded by online donations.