19:05, April 13 458 0 theguardian.com

2020-04-13 19:05:04
TV interview for woman accused of making up Cyprus gang rape

A British woman convicted of making up gang-rape claims in Cyprus will speak about the case in her first television interview.

ITV’s documentary, Believe Me – the Cyprus Rape Case, speaks to the 19-year-old woman, referred to as Emily in the programme, as well as her mother, her friends and the man who claims he stumbled upon her shortly after the alleged rape occurred.

The British student was stuck on the Mediterranean island for almost five months after claiming she was raped by up to 12 Israeli tourists in a hotel room in the town of Ayia Napa on 17 July last year. The 12 men were arrested, but were released without charge.

Emily remains adamant she told the truthand tells ITV news anchor Julie Etchingham that local police forced her to retract her rape claim.

She said: “There was no other way out of that police station other than sign that retraction statement.

“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.”

She was immediately charged with “public mischief” by the police for allegedly giving a false statement and spent about a month in prison before being granted bail in August.

On 7 January, she was handed a four-month jail term, suspended for three years, before returning to the UK that week.

She has since lodged an appeal against her public mischief conviction to Cyprus’s supreme court. The 12 men were released without charge.

The documentary will be a chance for Emily’s friends, who found her shortly after the alleged rape, to tell their stories for the first time.

The programme will explore “inconsistencies in the suspects’ account” of that night, with a former Home Office adviser re-examining the evidence.

Former DCI David Gee told the programme that if the alleged events had occurred in the UK, there appeared to be enough evidence to charge at least one man with rape.

Believe Me – the Cyprus Rape Case airs on ITV on Tuesday at 10.45pm.