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  1. ITV Report

UK must be ‘careful’ about ‘aggravating’ case of British teen convicted of lying about gang rape in Cyprus, Raab says

The teenager was found guilty of public mischief after being convicted of lying about gang-rape. Credit: PA

The Foreign Secretary said the Government does not want to "aggravate" authorities in Cyprus, ahead of the sentencing of a British teenager convicted of lying about being gang-raped.

Dominic Raab, appearing on Sky's Ridge on Sunday, warned the case needs to be handled "very sensitively" to prevent anything "counter-productive" between now and the teenager's sentencing on Tuesday.

The 19-year-old was found guilty of public mischief after she claimed she was raped by up to 12 Israeli tourists in a hotel room in the party town of Ayia Napa on July 17.

But she was charged and the dozen young men, aged between 15 and 20, who were arrested over the incident were freed after she signed a retraction statement 10 days later.

The woman - who cannot be named for legal reasons - claims she was pressured into changing her account by Cypriot police.

Dominic Raab said the case in Cyprus had to be handled 'very sensitively.' Credit: PA

Mr Raab said he had conveyed concerns to his Cypriot counterpart over the treatment of the teenager.

Mr Raab told Sky News: “I have conveyed our concerns about her treatment and the case to my Cypriot opposite number.

“I did that on Friday, and I also have also spoken to the young lady’s mother to see what more support we can provide to her.

“So we also need to be careful that we don’t do anything which aggravates the situation between now (and) the date of sentencing, which is on Tuesday.

“But the concerns that we have and that I have, have been squarely and firmly and categorically registered with the Cypriot authorities.”

Protesters stage a demonstration against the conviction of the teenager. Credit: AP

The UK had previously said it was "seriously concerned about the fair trial guarantees" in the "deeply distressing case."

The woman has been on bail since the end of August, after spending a month in prison, and could face up to a year in jail and a £1,500 fine when she is sentenced.

Her mother told ITV News her daughter is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD).

"It would be an absolute injustice if they decide to imprison her for any more days than the four-and-a-half weeks she's already spent in prison," the woman's mother said.

“I will fully support her 100% as will her lawyers so we’ll continue on with appeal and go down that route, if we end up in the European Court of Human Rights that’s great."

On what he would do if he felt there had been a miscarriage of justice in the case, Mr Raab said Cyprus was “sensitive” about perceived political interference.

Mr Raab said on Sunday: “We don’t control the Cypriot justice system, they’re very sensitive in Cyprus about perceived political interference, but there are clear questions around the due process, the fair trial, safeguards that have applied in this case.”

He said the “first priority” is to see the teenager released, adding: “So that’s what we’re doing and we obviously need to handle this case very sensitively to make sure we don’t do anything counter-productive.”

One of the men accused of taking part in the gang-rape, Yona Golub, told The Mail On Sunday that the group were “preparing to sue" the teenager.

“We deserve compensation for what we went through.

"I don’t know how much I should get,” he told the newspaper.

“They need to put her in prison and only afterwards should they deal with the compensation.”

The 18-year-old claims he was in a different hotel room, but was arrested because he was on holiday with two friends who had been in the same room.