THE mum of a Brit convicted of lying about being raped in Ayia Napa has shouted “she’s coming home” as the teen was spared jail.
The unidentified 19-year-old was given a suspended sentence today after being found guilty of making false claims about being raped by 12 Israelis.
The decision was bitter sweet for the girl, who continues to protest her innocence, with the British Government saying it had “serious concerns” about the verdict.
But there were jubilant scenes outside court today as she emerged with her family following the decision to let her walk free.
The girl’s mother waved to crowds of anti-rape protesters who had gathered to support her daughter, shouting: “She’s coming home!”
The girl was handed a four-month suspended sentence amid speculation that she would be granted a pardon by the Cypriot president.
The teen, whose jail term will be suspended for three years, was also handed a fine of €148 (£126).
The judge in the case, Michaelis Papathanasiou, said he was taking into account the woman’s age, psychological state, and that she had been in Cyprus for six months, and giving her a “second chance”.
The woman was last week convicted of public mischief after withdrawing a claim that she had been raped in a hotel room in July.
She later said Cyprus police had coerced her into recanting the original claim, something police have denied.
‘FIGHT GOES ON’
The woman was seen hugging her mum and legal team as her sentence was announced.
Speaking outside the court, the woman’s lawyer, Lewis Power QC, said the sentence imposed would allow her to go home, but that “the fight for her innocence will go on regardless”.
He said she had gone “overnight from being victim to being the accused” and “having to endure not only the dreadful physical violation of a pre-meditated gang rape and serious sexual assault perpetrated upon her but also the prolonged mental ordeal under the judicial process in Cyprus.”
He added that she had been “diagnosed with severe PTSD and this case has resulted in the deterioration of her mental health.”
He said the family would be seeking an expedited appeal of the woman’s conviction at the Supreme Court of Cyprus and would also consider going to the European Court of Human Rights.
‘THANK YOU FOR SUPPORT FROM AROUND THE WORLD’
The teen’s mother added: “On behalf of the family, I would like to say we are very relieved at the sentence that has been passed down today.
“I would also like to say thank you for all the support we have received throughout the globe.”
She also expressed gratitude for an intervention by Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.
“I spoke with him and he was very supportive. I am grateful to the Foreign Office,” she said.
Mr Raab had earlier said he had “very serious concerns” about the woman’s treatment in Cyprus and urged authorities there to “do the right thing”.
Speaking after the sentence, Raab said: “The young lady will now be returning home to begin the process of recovery given all that she’s been through.
“I understand how much she has been through, how much the family has been through.
“My first concern has been her welfare.
“We will be following up on some of the issues relating to the case.
“I spoke to the Cypriot foreign minister about that.”
DOZENS PROTEST OUTSIDE COURT
Israeli footballer Shimon Yusufov, 19, has admitted consensual sex with the teen but denied allowing his friends to attack her.
Representing him, lawyer Nir Yaslovitzh told The Sun: “We respect the decision of the judge and accept the sentence.
“What is important for us is that the judge found her guilty. The important thing is we hope the girl learns her lesson from all this.”
Dozens of protesters gathered outside the Famagusta District Court in Paralimni, Cyprus this morning in a show of support for the woman.
Supporters from Israel and Cyprus could be heard chanting “Stop blaming the victim”, “You are not alone”, and “Mr Judge shame on you, don’t you have a daughter too?”.
Yesterday also saw more than 100 protesters gather outside the Cypriot high commission in London.
Speaking at sentencing, Judge Papathanasiou said: “Public mischief is a serious crime which distracts authorities from their civil duties and causes distress to innocent people.
“What she did was very serious. Twelve young people were arrested and deprived of their liberty for ten days.”
PRESIDENT KEEPING ‘FULLY BRIEFED’
The teen, from Derbyshire, faced up to a year in jail and a £1,500 fine after her conviction.
She spoke to The Sun ahead of sentencing about the prospect she would be given a pardon by Nicos Anastasiades.
She told The Sun: “It’s good news and gives me hope I might go home but I am still so apprehensive how things will go.
“I am scared I will get a custodial sentence, but know I have done nothing wrong and am devoted to carrying on fighting.”
It is not yet clear whether Cypriot authorities will still consider pardoning the woman from her suspended sentence.
Her mum earlier told The Sun: “We are aware of these reports and getting the legal team to check to see what it means.
“She is innocent. The whole family is terrified of the prospect of her going to prison.”
Reports suggested the woman could fly home to Britain today if a pardon is granted.
President Anastasiades is reported to have been kept “fully briefed on the case”.
A source said: “He does have the option of pardoning the girl once the sentence has passed.
“He cannot interfere beforehand.”
On independence day in October the president, 73, pardoned 21 convicts.
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