UK woman allegedly gang-raped by Israelis in Cyprus takes case to ECHR

She was allegedly raped by up to 12 Israeli teenagers in 2019 in Ayia Napa. After Cyprus refused to investigate, she is taking them to the European Court of Human Rights.

Protestors supporting a British woman found guilty of lying in a rape case in Cyprus, take part in a march in London, Britain, January 6, 2020. (photo credit: REUTERS/TOBY MELVILLE)
Protestors supporting a British woman found guilty of lying in a rape case in Cyprus, take part in a march in London, Britain, January 6, 2020.
(photo credit: REUTERS/TOBY MELVILLE)

A British woman who accused a group of Israeli teenagers of gang-raping her in a Cyprus resort town is taking the Republic of Cyprus to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) after being told her allegations won't be investigated, Kathimerini Cyprus reported.

The woman, now a 21-year-old university student, was 19 when she was allegedly raped by as many as 12 Israeli teenagers in 2019 in the resort town of Ayia Napa.

She filed a complaint to the police but later signed a retraction and was charged with public mischief for filing a false complaint.

In January 2020, she was found guilty and sentenced to four months in prison with a three-year delay.

However, the woman continued to maintain that she was pressured into withdrawing the allegations and her lawyers argued the retraction should never have been admitted because she was suffering from PTSD and did not have a lawyer or translator.

 A British woman, accused of lying about being gang raped, covers her face as she arrives at the Famagusta courthouse in Paralimni, Cyprus, January 7, 2020 (credit: YIANNIS KOURTOGLOU/REUTERS) A British woman, accused of lying about being gang raped, covers her face as she arrives at the Famagusta courthouse in Paralimni, Cyprus, January 7, 2020 (credit: YIANNIS KOURTOGLOU/REUTERS)

In January 2022, a Cypriot court overturned her conviction. However, no new investigation was launched.

A failure to investigate

“We wrote to the Cypriot attorney general to tell him to reinvestigate. He wrote back saying he wasn’t going to do so. The only remedy is to go to [the] ECHR,” UK human rights lawyer Michael Polak of Justice Abroad told The Independent.

“We wrote to the Cypriot attorney general to tell him to reinvestigate. He wrote back saying he wasn’t going to do so. The only remedy is to go to [the] ECHR.”

Michael Polak

“They said the evidence tended to suggest the woman was telling the truth,” Polak continued. “She is determined to push for justice in the case. The ECHR could say Cyprus is in breach of obligations and they can order Cyprus to properly investigate the case. We are very confident in succeeding at the ECHR.”

The Cypriot police have continued to deny any allegation of misconduct on their part. Despite this, Cyprus has been consistently criticized for the mishandling of sexual-harassment cases, assault and rape, with suspects walking free in the past.