Life

Believe Me: woman accused of lying about Cyprus gang rape to speak in new ITV documentary

Posted by
Anna Brech
Published
Believe Me The Cyprus Rape Case

It was a trial that sparked furious protests both here and in Cyprus, and now the teenager accused of falsifying gang rape claims in Ayia Napa will speak in a new ITV documentary about the case.

A woman at the centre of a controversial gang rape case in Ayia Napa will give her story to a new ITV documentary airing tonight.

The 19-year-old, known only as “Emily” to protect her identity, was found guilty of lying about the fact that she was sexually assaulted by a group of 12 Israeli tourists in a hotel room on the Greek party island of Cyprus last year.

A  judge in Paralimni ruled that she caused public mischief “over an imaginary offence”, and she narrowly escaped jail time – while men she accused, who deny all allegations, were filmed celebrating as they returned home without charge.  

You may also like

Do sexual assault allegations really ruin a man’s career? Just ask Brett Kavanaugh

Emily suffered from severe PTSD after the alleged attack, and the eight-hour police interrogation without a lawyer that followed it. 

She originally testified that she decided to have consensual sex with one of the group, but as she did so, the other men entered the room, held her down and gang-raped her. 

Cyprus gang rape
Women's rights activists protest over the case in Cyprus

 In the programme tonight, Emily says she was telling the truth about the gang rape, but was forced to retract her statement under police duress. 

“There was no other way out of that police station other than sign that retraction statement,” she tells news anchor Julie Etchingham, as reported by ITV

“I thought as soon as I am outside that volatile environment I can sort this out. When you’re in that situation, the only sensible thing to do is to conform.”

You may also like

“The John Worboys ruling will force police to take rape survivors seriously”

The documentary will also hear from Emily’s friends, who found her shortly after the alleged attack occurred last July.

“She was in such a traumatic state and like crying and bruises all over her body, like it was a horrible sight,” one tells the programme.

A forensic pathologist who testified at the trial said the woman’s injuries were consistent with being raped, although a second doctor called by the prosecution said bruising on her legs could have been caused by bumping into furniture.

Emily's conviction ignited anger around the world

Emily was given a four-month suspended prison sentence in January, and her lawyers immediately launched an appeal at Cyprus’ Supreme Court.

The teenager’s appeal sparked protests by women’s groups outside Famagusta District Court in Paralimni, with protestors wearing masks to represent the silence that is often forced upon those who are sexually assaulted.

Many linked the case to a broader element of victim blaming that prevents so many rape survivors from ever finding justice.

Tonight’s documentary will explore “inconsistencies” in the suspects’ accounts, with help from a former Home Office adviser and a police detective. 

If you or anyone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, seek confidential help and support with Rape Crisis.

Believe Me: The Cyprus Rape Case is broadcast on Tuesday 14 April at 10.45pm on ITV.

Images: ITV and Getty

Sign up to our daily email for a curated edit of the latest news and must-read features from Stylist, so you’ll never miss out on the conversation again.

Topics

Share this article

Author

Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for stylist.co.uk. Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.

Recommended by Anna Brech

Life

A man has been cleared of sexual assault because he didn’t ‘enjoy’ it

Diego Cruz Alonso, 21, was found not guilty of assault on Monday.

Posted by
Moya Crockett
Published
Ask A Feminist

Ched Evans wants you to drink less to avoid being raped

Ask a Feminist despairs at the latest comments from footballer, Ched Evans.

Posted by
Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett
Published
People

"I don't deserve to be raped": women of Brazil unite in viral campaign

"I don't deserve to be raped": women of Brazil unite in viral campaign

Posted by
Stylist Team
Published
Life

Aluna Francis’ sexual assault is yet further proof that the music industry needs its #MeToo moment

The AlunaGeorge singer had a candid conversation on a BBC podcast.

Posted by
Hollie Richardson
Published
Life

Abigail Breslin combats sexual assault myths: “I knew my assailant”

The actor has shared her story to raise awareness about consent

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published