Protesters chant 'Boycott Cyprus' in support of British teenager convicted of lying about gang-rape

6 January 2020, 14:22

By Sylvia DeLuca

Dozens of protesters called for a "boycott" of Cyprus outside the country's High Commission in London as part of a march calling for justice for a 19-year old British woman who was found guilty of lying about being gang raped.

Demonstrators gathered in front the High Commission Of The Republic Of Cyprus in St James's Square on Monday marching through the streets past Downing Street and the Foreign Office to hold a rally in Parliament Square.

They carried placards saying "I believe her" and "The rapist is you", whilst chanting "We believe her, we want justice", and "Wherever you are, wherever you go, yes means yes and no means no."

The British teenager who was found guilty of public mischief said she was raped by up to 12 Israeli tourists in a hotel room in the party town of Ayia Napa on July 17. She is due to be sentenced on Tuesday.

Anna from Reading who took part in the march told LBC she is a rape victim and sexual assault survivor and said she is "glad" she didn't report her rape or sexual assault because "this is what happens when women report their rape - they get victim blamed," she said.

"The woman is clearly innocent and is being stitched up by the authorities so I really want to see her released and see her home so she can get treatment for her post traumatic stress disorder," Anna added.

Demonstrators walk past the Houses of Parliament in central London, as they take part in a protest march in support of the British woman convicted in Cyprus of lying about being gang-raped.
Demonstrators walk past the Houses of Parliament in central London, as they take part in a protest march in support of the British woman convicted in Cyprus of lying about being gang-raped. Picture: PA

Catherine from Hertfordshire took part in the march and said she is also survivor of violent rape, and her case was dropped by the CPS when it went to court.

"Women and men have to feel like they can come forward and report what's happened to them," she told LBC.

"What's happened is to this girl is atrocious. If it can happen in Ayia Napa it can happen anywhere."

A banner reads "One woman versus 12 men"
A banner reads "One woman versus 12 men". Picture: PA

Verity Nevitt, co-founder of the Gemini Project, which organised the march, said that it was to "stand in solidarity" with the teenager "against the injustice she is facing".

She added: "The aim of today is to put pressure on the Government and (Foreign Secretary) Dominic Raab to intervene and do something.

"They've said a few words about being concerned but they haven't taken any action. They should be out there they should be doing something."

Protesters held placards during the march
Protesters held placards during the march. Picture: PA

The British teenager was charged and the dozen young men, aged between 15 and 20, who were arrested over the incident were freed after she signed a retraction statement 10 days later.

The 19-year old maintains she was raped but forced to change her account under pressure from Cypriot police.

The teenager could face up to a year in jail and a 1,700 euro (£1,500) fine upon sentence after being found guilty of public mischief at Famagusta District Court in Paralimni.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has conveyed concerns to his Cypriot counterpart over the treatment of the 19-year-old woman.

Mr Raab warned that the case now needs to be handled "very sensitively" to prevent doing anything "counter-productive" between now and the teenager's sentencing.

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