A British teenager found guilty of lying about being gang-raped in Cyprus can return home after she was handed a four-month suspended jail sentence.
The 19-year-old woman hugged her family and legal team and left court weeping, with her head in her hands, after she was sentenced for public mischief.
Her family had raised fears she would suffer permanent damage to her mental health if she was sent to prison, having been diagnosed with PTSD.
But she is free to return home after Judge Michalis Papathanasiou told her he was giving her a “second chance”.
The judge told Famagusta District Court on Tuesday the four-month sentence would be suspended for three years.
The teenager has been stuck on the island after claiming she was raped by up to 12 Israeli tourists in a hotel room in the party town of Ayia Napa on July 17.
She was charged and spent about a month in prison before being granted bail in August.
Lawyers vow to appeal conviction
The dozen young men and boys, aged between 15 and 20 arrested over the incident were freed after she signed a retraction statement 10 days later.
She maintains she was raped after having consensual sex with one of the Israelis, but forced to change her account under pressure from Cypriot police.
The case hinged on a retraction statement signed by the teenager following hours of questioning alone and without legal representation.
The judge refused to allow any evidence of rape to be heard in her trial, including video and medical.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he has raised concerns over her treatment with the Cypriot authorities, after the teenager’s conviction provoked outrage in Cyprus and the UK.
Supporters had gathered outside the court on Tuesday holding banners declaring: “We believe you.”
Her lawyers are poised to launch an appeal and hope to fast-track proceedings in Cyprus’s supreme court, which could take three to four years.
Since you are here
Since you are here, we wanted to ask for your help.
Journalism in Britain is under threat. The government is becoming increasingly authoritarian and our media is run by a handful of billionaires, most of whom reside overseas and all of them have strong political allegiances and financial motivations.
Our mission is to hold the powerful to account. It is vital that free media is allowed to exist to expose hypocrisy, corruption, wrongdoing and abuse of power. But we can't do it without you.
If you can afford to contribute a small donation to the site it will help us to continue our work in the best interests of the public. We only ask you to donate what you can afford, with an option to cancel your subscription at any point.
To donate or subscribe to The London Economic, click here.
The TLE shop is also now open, with all profits going to supporting our work.
The shop can be found here.
You can also SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER .