Mother of British teenager convicted in Cyprus backs tourism boycott

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The mother of a British teenager found guilty of lying about being gang-raped in Cyprus has backed calls for a tourism boycott of the country.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that she supported the campaign and that she believes the resort town of Ayia Napa is unsafe.

“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,” she said.

The teenager said she was raped by up to 12 Israeli tourists in a hotel room in the party town of Ayia Napa on July 17.

But she was charged and the dozen young men, aged between 15 and 20, who were arrested over the incident, were freed after she signed a retraction statement 10 days later.

The woman said her daughter is experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), hallucinations, and is sleeping for up to 20 hours a day because of a condition called hypersomnia.

“She needs to get back to the UK to get that treated – that’s my absolute primary focus. She can’t be treated here because hearing foreign men speaking loudly will trigger an episode…

“It needs resolving otherwise she’s going to carry on having this for the rest of her life,” the woman said.

She said her daughter had planned to go to university this year after being accepted for the courses she applied for and being offered a bursary at one institute.

“So, no question, she would have gone to university, but it was in a career that she wouldn’t be able to do with this ‘public mischief’ verdict, so – again, life-changing for her – she needs to totally rethink her options.”

A crowdfunding appeal to raise money for legal support for her daughter has passed £80,000.

The GoFundMe page set up by British lawyer John Hobbs

The “help teen victim get justice in Cyprus” GoFundMe page was set up by British lawyer John Hobbs in August to raise cash for the 19-year-old’s legal representation.
The teenager claimed in court she was raped but forced to change her account under pressure from Cypriot police.

The Foreign Office said the UK was “seriously concerned” about the fairness of the woman’s trial and it is understood officials have raised the “deeply distressing case” with the Cypriot authorities.
The teenager’s mother said she would “definitely” like the Foreign Secretary to intervene in the case.

She told Radio 4: “I would love the Foreign Secretary to get involved, that would be fantastic.”
She said they will be appealing against the verdict “without question” and hoped the FCO could help them progress the case to the Cypriot Supreme Court.

She added: “Unfortunately there’s quite a long waiting list, so our lawyers are looking at what could be done to expedite that.
“That’s something maybe the Foreign Office can help us with.”

The “help teen victim get justice in Cyprus” GoFundMe page was set up by British lawyer John Hobbs in August to raise cash for the 19-year-old’s legal representation.
The teenager claimed in court she was raped but forced to change her account under pressure from Cypriot police.

The Foreign Office said the UK was “seriously concerned” about the fairness of the woman’s trial and it is understood officials have raised the “deeply distressing case” with the Cypriot authorities.
The teenager’s mother said she would “definitely” like the Foreign Secretary to intervene in the case.

She told Radio 4: “I would love the Foreign Secretary to get involved, that would be fantastic.”
She said they will be appealing against the verdict “without question” and hoped the FCO could help them progress the case to the Cypriot Supreme Court.

She added: “Unfortunately there’s quite a long waiting list, so our lawyers are looking at what could be done to expedite that.
“That’s something maybe the Foreign Office can help us with.”

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