British woman ‘pressured into retracting rape allegation by Cyprus police’
Police in Cyprus threatened and pressured a British woman until she recanted her claim that she was gang raped by a group of Israeli teenagers, according to her family.
The 19-year-old woman was arrested last month after saying she was raped but then allegedly changing her story and admitting she made up the sexual assault.
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She has been charged with public mischief and faces up to a year in prison if convicted.
Her family now says that she was pressured into changing her story, with an officer dictating a confession to her and threatening to arrest her friends unless she recanted. Cypriot police deny the allegation.
Justice Abroad, a British legal group working her family, said the woman was called into a police station where she gave a statement about her alleged rape.
“After providing a further written statement, the police officer told her that he believed that she was lying about the allegations and that he wanted to help her,” Justice Abroad said in a statement.
“He told her to write a confession and that if she did not do so he would arrest her friends in Cyprus for conspiracy, naming the friends he would arrest if she refused.”
The woman initially refused and left the room but later came back, her family said.
“Further pressure was placed upon her to write the confession despite her stating that she did not want to. The purported confession was dictated to her and she was told what to include in the statement, with her being given a choice of reasons to include for why she made a criminal complaint of rape.”
The family said she requested a lawyer but was not allowed to see one. They also said police did not record their interview with the woman.
Cypriot police denied that they had coerced a confession from the woman.
“This is not true. The statement was taken legally. Obviously, they will present their position in court and have the right to do so,” said Michael Michael, a Cypriot police official.
Twelve young Israeli men, aged between 15 and 18, were arrested after the woman first made her claim of rape in mid-July. All were released and returned home to Israel.
Nir Yaslovitzh, a lawyer for several of the teenagers, said: “Once again, the accuser has no compunctions about changing her stories like a chameleon changes colours.”