The parents of a British teenager arrested in Cyprus on charges of falsifying a gang rape complaint are hoping to raise £15,000 for their daughter’s legal fees.
A Go Fund Me page with the goal was set up on Thursday, with the title ‘Help Teen Victim Get Justice in Cyprus’.
“In the early hours of Sunday the 28th of July 2019, following a week of traumatic events, our daughter was arrested for allegedly making a false allegation of rape in Cyprus and is currently being detained in prison awaiting trial,” the 19-year-old’s parents say.
“We maintain that the statement was given under duress and in breach of her rights, resulting in the collapse of the initial investigation and charges of public mischief being made against her.
“She is alone in a prison abroad after an awful series of events, we just want to bring her home.”
The woman claims she was gang raped by 12 Israeli men in Ayia Napa, a resort town on Cyprus’ coast.
She made a criminal complaint to police officers and the group were arrested on 17 July.
But the teenager was detained on 28 July after police said she retracted the gang rape allegation.
Detectives charged her last week with “public mischief”, an offence which carries a prison sentence of up to a year.
Officers freed the Israeli men, some of whom are minors, at the end of July. They have all denied the allegations.
They were reunited with their parents in Israel‘s Ben Gurion Airport and were filmed chanting “Am Yisrael Chai” (the people of Israel lives), and “The Brit is a whore”, according to The Times of Israel.
The British teenager has since said police officers forced her to sign a fabricated confession.
She told Justice Abroad, an organisation assisting her and her family, that the confession was coerced and she only signed as she was exhausted after hours of questioning.
Speaking through her family, she also said police had been threatening her friends.
“The purported confession was dictated to her and she was told what to include in the statement with her,” a Justice Abroad spokesperson said.
“There was a stand-off about signing the statement with the teenager refusing to sign and the police officer telling her that she had to.”
Andreas Pittadjis, the defence lawyer hired by the young woman, abruptly quit the case on Wednesday.
He cited a “serious disagreement” with his client as the reason.
“I do not wish any longer to represent the defendant as I disagree with the line of defence,” he said.
“Once there is a disagreement [lawyers] have an obligation towards the court, themselves and their clients to resign.
“Please do not interpret my resignation as whether she had to plead guilty or not guilty or anything, as this will be prejudicial to her defence and unfair to her as well,” he said.
The woman’s parents said they had launched the crowdfunder “to pay for the required legal representation in Cyprus.
“The organisation Justice Abroad has already been providing assistance within the UK,” they said.
“They are bringing together an expert legal team, from both the UK and Cyprus, to challenge the many breaches of her rights and require funds to do so.”
The Go Fund Me page is being administered by John Hobbs, a British solicitor and family friend, on behalf of the woman’s parents.
The campaign has raised more than £8,500 in a day.