Three U.S. Navy Members Charged With Rape Public

A British woman who was convicted of lying after claiming to have been gang-raped in 2019 by 12 young Israeli men in Cyprus has had her conviction overturned.

Cyprus Supreme Court has issued its decision to overturn the ruling after the young woman's legal team successfully proved that the trial judge had ignored expert evidence and failed to permit the victim to give proof about the rape case. Cypriot lawyer Nicoletta Charalambidou stated how the lower court started from the position that there was no rape and had misunderstood the offense of public mischief, which requires a false statement of a make-believe crime.

According to Charalambidou, Michalis Papathanasiou, the trial judge, did not permit the defendant to talk about the alleged rape, pointing to the seven times he claimed, "This is not a rape trial." The victim often came facing the judge, who refused to hear any details and statements of her rape allegations. During the court hearings the woman maintained that officers pressured her to withdraw the rape allegation.

Lewis Power, QC, who took part in the appeal to the Supreme Court, said, "The Supreme Court of Cyprus have handed down their landmark decision and allowed the appeal of this young woman. In doing so they have quite properly recognised the serious flaws in the investigative and trial process and her unjust treatment."

"This was the most deplorable of cases in which a myth was created denying the existence of gang rape, a myth which justified the rapists' behaviour, shifting the blame on to the victim. This is not just a victory and total vindication for the Appellant but for all those woman around the globe who have been both denied and wronged in justice. This case in my view has highlighted the injustice of justice."

The alleged rape victim is reportedly a university student from Derby. The woman was aged 18 when the incident happened. She was 19 years old when given a suspended four-month jail term by a Cypriot judge who found her guilty of public mischief after a trial at Famagusta District Court in Paralimni. The woman also previously narrated to the police how up to 12 Israeli tourists attacked her in a hotel room in the party town of Ayia Napa on July 17, 2019. However, she was accused of making the story up after signing a retraction statement 10 days later.

The victim reportedly had a consensual relationship with semi-pro footballer Shimon Yusufov, who held her down as she was being raped by the gang while also filming it on their mobile phones. The woman later on shared how her experiences in Cyprus have impacted her mental health, saying she has post-traumatic stress disorder.

The 12 Israeli men and boys were between 15 and 20 years old at the time. They were arrested over the incident; however, all denied any wrongdoing. They were freed and returned home. Nir Yaslovitzh, an Israeli lawyer who defended the main suspect, known as "Sam" and two others, maintained that his clients engaged in consensual "group sex," and also claimed that the court decision would not change anything.

This is a representational image. Pixabay.