Harriet Harman Harman among MPs questioning Ayia Napa rape case

Katherine Johnston (09 January, 2020) Crime Politics

The woman was given a suspended sentence amid outcry over her conviction

30456Harriet Harman MP

A British teenager facing prison after being accused of lying about being gang raped in Cyrpus has been released from jail after an international campaign backed by Harriet Harman.

The Camberwell and Peckhaam MP was among the signatories of a petition demanding that the woman was brought back to the UK and criminal charges dropped.

The nineteen-year-old had been found guilty of “public mischief” by a judge after being accused of lying about the attack on July 17 last year.

The victim said up to twelve Israelis gang-raped her in an Ayia Napa hotel room, but later retracted her statement, potentially leading to years behind bars. Concerns had been raised over the trial, evidence, and way the case had been handled.

Her lawyers say police forced her to sign the retraction, and claim she was interviewed without a lawyer present for hours. She has also been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

In a statement released before the pardon, the victim said: “I would say to both the foreign secretary and prime minister, both of whom are fathers, please support me with your actions, not just with your words.

“Time is running out for me. Please, please help.”

Campaigners and a petition to Boris Johnson signed by Harman called on the British government directly to intervene and push Cyprus to release her from detention and stop criminal proceedings.

On Tuesday a judge handed her a four-month suspended sentence and 140 euro fine – giving her leave to return home.

 

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