British tourist, 19, accused of false Ayia Napa gang-rape claim goes on trial

The British teenager leaves the Famagusta District Court in Paralimni in eastern Cyprus after a preliminary hearing in August. (Picture: Getty)

A British teenager accused of lying that she was gang-raped in Cyprus has appeared in court for the start of her trial.

The woman, 19, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is facing a public mischief charge over her claim she was sexually assaulted by 12 Israelis at a hotel in Ayia Napa in July.

She denies she made false rape allegations.

Her lawyers have since said she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) when she arrived at Famagusta District Court in Paralimni on Wednesday.

Her rape case fell apart when police could not find any evidence she had been attacked and officers later claimed she retracted the allegations.

Authorities freed five Israelis on July 25 and the rest were released three days later.

The British teenager's lawyer has since claimed she is now suffering from PTSD (Picture: Getty Images)

The British woman’s legal team plan to challenge the admissibility of a statement she made to police retracting the allegations against the Israelis that led to their release.

Her defence lawyers say investigators exerted pressure on her to retract her statement, threatening her and her friends with arrest.

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Cypriot authorities strongly deny her statement was coerced, saying she volunteered it in writing.

Her lawyers also hope to question officers over their initial investigation of the alleged rape, arguing they did not examine text and social media messages sent between the Israelis.

The teenager cried as her lawyer Ritsa Pekri read out a statement claiming the boys had texted they were going to ‘do orgies’ with her were aiming to be “bad and aggressive”.

Michael Polak from the UK legal aid group Justice Abroad answers reporters' questions (Picture: Getty Images)

Michael Polak, director of the group Justice Abroad, which is assisting in the woman’s legal defence, said: “She obviously just wants to go home.

“She was suffering from PTSD after the incident and we have got a psychologist for her.”

The lawyer said the teenager, who is on bail but must remain on the island, is being supported by her family, but has missed out on her place at university.

He added: “She doesn’t want to be here, she just wants to go back.”

The defendant spent four-and-a-half weeks in prison before she was granted bail at the end of August.

She has surrendered her travel documents to police and must appear at a Nicosia police station three times weekly.

The hearing continues.