IT has been revealed that more than £80,000 has been raised through a GoFundMe page to help the British woman who was found guilty of lying about being gang raped in Cyprus.
The fundraising campaign was set up by British lawyer John Hobbs to raise funds for the 19-year-old’s legal representation, where the money is hoped to be used to quash her conviction.
The young woman had said she was raped by up to 12 Israeli tourists in a hotel room in the town of Ayia Napa in July of this year, first sparking international outrage that such a crime had been committed on a young woman.
However, Cypriot police charged the woman after she signed a retraction statement 10 days after the incident, where in court, she had claimed officers has pressurised her to change her account of what had happened. Despite this claim, she was still convicted of public mischief on Monday, December 30, and hopes to use the funds raised to appeal against the ruling.
The men who were arrested at the time were aged between 15 and 20 and subsequently freed from prison after she retracted her statement,
However, the girl’s mother has called on a tourist boycott of the country after the hashtag #BoycottCyprus started circulating on Twitter, where lawyers and campaigners have also spoken out about the case and criticised the Cypriot justice system.
Speaking to the BBC after her daughter’s conviction her mother said that Cyprus is not safe and urged people to avoid travelling to the region. She said:
“The place isn’t safe – it is absolutely not safe. And if you go and report something that’s happened to you, you’re either laughed at, as far as I can tell, or, in the worst case, something like what’s happened to my daughter may happen.”
The Foreign Office has also raised concerns at an “official level” with the authorities in Cyprus, after previously saying it was “seriously concerned about the fair trial guarantees” involved in the case.
This attributes largely to the girl being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, where the doctor who made the diagnosis argued that the trial did not take that into consideration. Dr Christine Tizzard told The Guardian: “Aside the fact it hasn’t been fully represented, it means she’s been unable to get the treatment she so sorely needs and every day she’s not having treatment the worse it gets.”
The local press in Cyprus however indicate that the local community had ‘full confidence’ in the courts decision where the woman could face up to a year in jail and a fine up to €1,700 when she is sentenced next week. The Cypriot government has also defended their decision, saying:
“The Republic of Cyprus as an orderly state has constitutionally established institutions and separation of powers.
“In this context, the government does not intervene in cases brought before the competent courts of the Republic of Cyprus, nor does it comment on positions or allegations which are raised with respect to cases still pending before the courts.
“The government has full confidence in the justice system and the courts of the Republic of Cyprus, which should be left unfettered to implement state laws and deliver justice.”
Judge Michalis Papathanasiou had said to the court when he handed out the verdict that he believed the woman had made false allegations because she felt “embarrassed” upon realising she had been filmed having sex in a video recorded on the boy’s mobile phones. He also claimed that there was no evidence to suggest there was rape or violence, and police had carried out a thorough investigation throughout the case.