‘Liar.’ In the troubling case of a young British woman accused of faking a gang-rape allegation in Cyprus, journalists accuse the chief investigator of lying. It may help get her conviction reversed.

1 January 2020 By Paul Martin

The chief investigator in the case of a 19-year-old British woman convicted of making up a rape story was last night accused of telling a blatant lie in court – by Israeli journalists.

Lawyers for the young women could use this alleged lie as a plank for their call to reverse the young woman’s conviction.

“Marius Christo outrageously claimed that we journalists had planted false evidence in the room where the gang rape was supposed to have happened,” Noa Shipgel, a writer for the respected Israeli newspaper Haaretz, told correspondent.world.

“We showed that the police had not even sealed off the scene of the events, just a day after it happened. 

“I took a photo of a condom – clearly a used one – lying on the floor, and of the sheets, presumably the same ones from the alleged gang rape were still on the bed. I also took a video of the room.

The bed where the gang-rape did or did not happen. Photo Noa Shipgel

“Christo told the same court where the girl was being put on trial  for making false statements that we journalists had planted the stuff there. 

“So if Christo was willing to tell a blatant and ridiculous lie about us journalists, I assume he is just as capable of telling lies about the young woman too.

Apparent evidence left on the floor of hotel bedroom in Cyprus. Photo: Noa Shipgel

“I’m not in the habit of carrying around a used condom in my pocket to plant in rooms. We were with an Israeli couple – they seemed decent and honest – who had just been allocated that room. They said they were disgusted it had been left uncleaned in that condition. 

“And there were three of us who were allowed in to the room, from different Israeli news organisations, and we all saw the same scene,” Shipgel said.  The other two, who had flown over with Shipgel from Israel to report on the case, have confirmed her description.   

“It is strange that the police did not insist on sealing off the room as an alleged crime scene.  The fact that they were allowing the hotel to put it back into use as a hotel bedroom is, to say the least, very lax.

“As for the case itself, it felt like all the attitudes came from fifty years ago.   No-one in court or even locals reporting on it seemed to have heard of the #MeToo movement. 

“Police on the island seem to assume that young British female tourists are sluts and deserve what they get.

“The court procedure is a bit weird. I feel very uneasy about the way everything is being done.

“After they were released, the youngsters came back to Israel celebrating like they had scored some sort of victory. That was pretty crass.   They seemed like kids with not a lot of brains.

“They were aged between 15 and 18.  When I was that age I went on holiday and climbed trees.  I did not go looking for sex.  These kids seem to have had some pretty low values.  

“The police in Cyprus did not even force them to hand over their mobile phones – where there would presumably be lots of evidence of what really happened.  What kind of cops are they?”

The alleged gang-rape of the 19-year-old woman, or false claims of it, happened around dawn on July 17 2019 in the Cypriot resort of Ayia Napa.  It’s a holiday destination often brimming with British, European and Israeli tourists.  

The young British woman could have been locked up for a year and fined 1,700 euro (£1,500) now she has been found guilty of public mischief for “making a false statement concerning an imaginary offence”. Instead she was handed a suspended sentence, and plans to appeal the conviction.

The judge said he would be lenient, given that she had shown remorse, was young, and was having to take medicine to counter depression

The 19-year-old was accused of falsely claiming she was raped by up to 12 Israeli tourists.

She had withdrawn the rape claim after eight hours of questioning.  She later maintained she was telling the truth initially, and was pressured by Cypriot police.

The teenager spent more than a month in prison before she was granted bail at the end of August, but has not been allowed to leave the island.

Her family has set up a crowdfunding page that has raised more than £52,000 to help cover legal costs.

Israel and Cypiot women’s rights activists had stood outside the court chanting “Cypriot justice: shame on you.” The Israeli protesters had flown to Cyprus to make their feelings known.

AFP PHOTO, with the accused’s face obscured to comply with British law

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