‘Bring me home’: Ayia Napa teenager asks Boris Johnson to help

By Aamna Mohdin

A British teenager found guilty of lying about being gang-raped in Cyprus has pleaded with Boris Johnson to “bring me home”.

The teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she was raped by up to 12 Israeli tourists in a hotel room in the town of Ayia Napa on 17 July. She has since alleged that Cypriot police forced her to sign a retraction, which led to her being convicted of public mischief at Famagusta district court in Paralimni.

“Every second of this ordeal has been a waking nightmare.
I’m 19 and all I want to do is clear my name and come home to my family,” she told the Sun. “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.”

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said the UK was “seriously concerned about the “fair trial guarantees in this deeply distressing case and we will be raising the issue with Cypriot authorities”. It contacted the teenager’s family on Thursday, the first time since she was convicted.

The former Cypriot justice minister Kypros Chrysostomides told the BBC the teenager had “already suffered a lot” and he expected her sentence would be very lenient.

He was one of a number of prominent legal figures in Cyprus to urge the attorney general, Costas Clerides, to intervene in the case. “She has already been in detention for four and a half weeks and she has been prevented from travelling for about five months already,” Chrysostomides said.

The teenager’s mother has backed calls for a tourism boycott of the country. She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Wednesday: “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 woman said her daughter was experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, hallucinations and sleeping for up to 20 hours a day due to hypersomnia. An online crowdfunding appeal to raise money for legal support for the teenager has passed £120,000, exceeding its £105,000 goal.

Last week the Cypriot government defended the country’s courts after widespread condemnation of the decision. “The government has full confidence in the judiciary and the courts of the Republic of Cyprus, which should be strictly left to enforce the laws of the state and to administer justice,” said its spokesman, Kyriakos Kousios.