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.
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.
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.”
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 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