THE mother of a teenager controversially found guilty of lying about being gang-raped in Cyprus shouted ‘she’s coming home!’ after her daughter was given a suspended sentence.
Dozens of supporters gathered outside court as under-fire judge Michalis Papathanasiou said he was giving the 19-year-old Brit a ‘second chance’ after her conviction for public mischief.
The unnamed girl hugged her family and wept as she left Famagusta district court yesterday. She was due to return home last night.
She had been detained on the island after claiming she was raped by up to 12 Israeli tourists in Ayia Napa in July.
The group were freed after the teenager, from Derbyshire, signed a statement retracting her allegations.
But she maintained that she was raped and forced to change her account under pressure from police.
The case sparked outrage in Cyprus and the UK, with the defendant’s family raising fears over her mental health if she was sent to prison.
Judge Papathanasiou told the packed courtroom: ‘I admit, I have been troubled over this. Her psychological state, her youth, that she has been away from her family, her friends and academic studies — this has led me to decide to give her a second chance and suspend the sentence for three years.’ Addressing supporters after the hearing, the young woman’s mother spoke of her ‘relief’, and thanked them for ‘making sure we get justice’.
Her lawyer Lewis Power QC said he would challenge the conviction, and was prepared to take it to the European Court of Human Rights.
He added: ‘This young girl was stripped of both her dignity and her basic human rights.’
But a lawyer for one of the 12, semi-pro footballer Shimon Yusufov, 19 — who claims he had consensual sex with the girl — said his client hoped she ‘learned her lesson’. She claimed he held her down as others raped her, which he strongly denies.