A British teenager who claimed she was gang raped by 12 Israeli men has been found guilty of lying about the attack.
The 19-year-old was convicted by a court in Cyprus of making up the story that she was the victim of a brutal assault.
A judge found that she had lied in revenge for being filmed having sex with a man she had met at her hotel, adding: ‘She knows that she was never raped.’
The woman, who MailOnline has decided not to name, now faces up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of £1,450.
Sentencing has been adjourned until January 7 and her defence team say they plan to appeal. Prosecutors have called for a ‘harsh’ penalty.
As she left the court, the woman gave a thumbs up to her supporters while she and her mother wore masks depicting a pair of lips sewn together that were given to them by the crowd.
A 19-year-old British woman (pictured giving a thumbs up to supporters outside court today) has been found guilty of falsely accusing 12 Israeli men of gang-raping her in Ayia Napa
The teenager left court alongside her mother on Monday as the pair wore masks showing a woman’s lips stitched together, which was handed to them by women’s rights activists
A judge branded the woman an ‘unreliable witness’, said she had admitted her own guilt, and ‘knows she was never raped’ as he set a sentencing hearing for January 7
Zelia Gregoriou, an activist who stood with about 20 individuals protesting against the verdict, said: ‘This victim was never protected. From the first instance, she was raped again and again by the press, by society and the legal system.’
They were accompanied by her father, and a cameraman filming a documentary about the case with her permission.
In a damming verdict, Judge Michalis Papathansidi said the only the time the teenager told the truth was when she admitted to being ‘humiliated’ after discovering she had been filmed by a group of Israeli men.
‘She did not make a good impression on the court,’ he said. ‘She did not tell the truth and tried to mislead the court.
‘She tried to avoid giving answers and part of her statements could not be accepted. I could observe no reliability on her part of her defence.
‘She was never clear on what happened. She was not stating the truth and I reject the version she gave to the court.’
The 19-year-old woman from Derbyshire is pictured right outside court in Cyprus today
He added: ‘The guilt of the accused is proven. She confessed her guilt.’
The judge said he found evidence from police officers who carried out the rape investigation to be ‘honest and truthful.’
He also dismissed evidence from a specialists from the UK who said the teenager was suffering from PTSD when she claimed to have been bullied into withdrawing the gang rape allegation.
The woman, who wore a sleeveless black top and black trousers, showed no emotion as the judge said her guilt had been proven.
She could face up to a year in jail, although her defence team asked the judge to pass a suspended sentence.
The woman reacted angrily after the judge announced he would pass sentence on January 7.
‘Why do I have to wait. He’s found me guilty,’ she said.
Barrister Michel Polak, from Justice Abroad, said the woman’s defence team would appeal the sentence.
He said: ‘Although the team is very disappointed with the decision of the court… we are not surprised by the result given the frequent refusal during the trial of the judge to consider evidence which supported the fact that the teenager had been raped.
‘Shutting down questioning from our Cypriot advocates and the production of evidence into the trial on a handful of occasions the Judge stridently stated “this is not a rape case, I will not consider whether she was raped or not.”
‘We have found it incredibly difficult to follow this logic given that an essential element of the offence is for there to be a ‘false statement concerning an imaginary offence’ and therefore, clearly if the teenager was raped, she cannot be guilty.
‘This will form a ground of appeal before the Supreme Court of Cyprus along with a number of other failings in the trial process which resulted in the teenager not receiving a fair trial before the District Court as guaranteed by Cypriot Law as well as both European Community Law and European Human Rights Law.
‘Despite the setback today, the teenager who has spent over a month in prison and 6 months where she has been unable to leave Cyprus is determined for justice to be done in her case as well as to help change the culture towards victims of sexual offences in Cyprus.’
Women’s rights activists waving a banner reading ‘the rapist is you’ – inspired by a protest anthem that began in Chile but has spread across the world – demonstrate outside the court
Cypriot women’s rights activists protest outside court wearing masks that show a pair of lips stitched together which has become a symbol of their movement in recent weeks
Around a dozen activists attended the hearing, then protested the verdict outside court
The woman accused 12 Israeli men of raping her in August but later recanted the accusation, which she says she was pressured to do by police. The men (pictured hear arriving at a court in July) have already been freed
Defence lawyer Nicoletta Charalambidou added: ‘The decision of the court is respected. However, we respectfully disagree with it.
‘We believe there have been many violations of the procedure and the rights of a fair trial of our client have been violated.
‘We are planning to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, and if justice fails … we are planning to take our case to the European Court of Human Rights.’
During previous court appearances the woman claimed she was held down and assaulted by a group of men after they burst into a hotel bedroom.
But after the dozen suspects were arrested police noticed she had given conflicting statements and said she later admitted lying.
The woman claimed she was bullied by police into retracting her statement with her defence team arguing the retraction could not be relied on.
But after a trial spread over four months, judge Michalis Papathanasiou ruled she had lied about the original assault and convicted her on a single charge of public mischief.
More than 20 women who were from a group called Network Against Violence against Women had crammed into the courtroom in Paralimni to hear the verdict.
Nicole Papaleont, 16, said the group wanted to show the woman she was not alone and they believed she had been raped.
‘We are here because there is a 19-year-old woman who was raped and yet the men who did this are free and she is on trial.
‘This is a political issue and has more to do with relations between Cyprus and Israel. It is wrong that the woman has to be be put on trial when she is the victim here.’
Elena Gonata, 36, added: ‘We want this poor woman to know she is not alone. We are here to show support and believe that she was raped.’
As the defendant was led from the court with her face blindfolded to shield her identity 20 protesters chanted: ‘We are with you’ and ‘We believe you’.
‘The way the case of this young lady was handled by the police and Cyprus government was wrong,’ said one of the demonstrators, Maria Mappouridou.
Another protester, Helena Gonata, said ‘everyone will find a reason not to believe her. That’s the case with rape – no one will believe you.’
‘We’re trying to encourage women to talk. Many women are afraid to come forward.’
Some of the Israeli men who were initially accused of rape are seen arriving in court on July 25
Some of the accused men celebrate after being released from jail in Cyprus on July 28
The teenager, from Derbyshire, insisted she was assaulted in the early hours of July 17 at a budget hotel where she was living while working in the resort of Ayia Napa known for its raucous nightlife.
She had begun a holiday romance with a 21-year-old Israeli called Sam who was staying at the Pambos Napa Rocks hotel with a group of friends.
The court heard she had sex with Sam on two nights prior to the attack when his friends were in the room and filmed them on their phones.
On the third night they met she claimed the same group of men, aged from 15 -22, burst into the room, held her down and raped her.
She ran semi naked to friends who took her to a medical centre at the hotel. Staff called police and she described in harrowing detail how she had been repeatedly raped.
Police swooped on the hotel and arrested a dozen Israelis who had been named by Sam as being in his room.
DNA tests showed three of the men had some sexual contact with her, but they all claimed it had been consensual.
Police seized their mobile phones and discovered several had filmed the woman having sex with her holiday fling.
They had also become suspicious about the teen’s story after staff at a five-star hotel where she moved to after the alleged attack described how they saw her jumping on the bed with two friends because they were so happy with their luxury accommodation.
And when they went to collect her for further interviews, she was lounging by the swimming pool.
The bedroom where the teenager claimed the attack had taken place
The room of the Aiya Napa hotel room where the teenager claimed she had been attacked
One of the men was able to prove his innocence thanks to a selfie that his girlfriend took of the pair in bed together on the morning the alleged rape took place
‘She did not seem like a woman who had only a day previously had been raped by 12 men’, said a police source.
‘Of course, every person reacts differently to traumatic events, but this just seemed to be unusual behaviour.
‘She just did not fit the picture of a typical person who has been raped, let alone raped by so many people.’
Police released five of the suspects a week after the incident saying they found no evidence that they had been present.
One of the Israelis was able to provide a selfie he had taken at the time of the attack showing he was in bed with his girlfriend.
The woman was called into the Ayia Napa police headquarters for further questioning where detectives said she voluntarily admitted lying about the rape.
The seven remaining Israelis were released without charge and flew home where they were given a hero’s welcome by family and friends.
The woman was charged with public mischief and spent over a month in jail in Nicosia awaiting trial. Her passport was taken away preventing her from leaving the island.
The campaign group Justice Abroad took over her case and her family launched a GoFundMe page that raised almost £50,000 to pay for legal fees.
Her legal team attempted to get the retraction statement ruled out in a legal process known as a ‘trial within a trial’ that would have meant the charge being dropped.
But despite presenting expert evidence from a psychologist who said she was suffering from PTSD and a linguistic specialist who said the retraction statement was written by someone in broken English the judge ruled police had acted within the law at all times.
Judge Michalis Papathanasiou said the Brit, who at times had panic attacks while stood in the dock and scratched her hands until they bled, could not be believed. He called her an ‘unreliable witness’
Prosecutors said she had filed the original complaint as she felt ‘shamed and humiliated’ when she learned she had been filmed.
A veteran police doctor who examined her said he could find no visible signs of rape or violence.