A crowdfunder set up to raise legal funds for a British teenager convicted of lying about being gang-raped in Cyprus has overshot its six-figure target to raise £115,000 – and counting.
The 19-year-old woman – who has not been named – was convicted of public mischief at Famagusta Crown Court on Monday.
She says she was raped by up to 12 Israeli tourists in a hotel room in Ayia Napa in July.
The woman retracted her statement 10 days later – but said in court she had only done so because she had been pressured by Cypriot police to change her account during a lengthy questioning ordeal at which there had been no lawyer present. Police have denied the claim.
She now faces up to a year in jail when she is sentenced.
The Foreign Office has said the UK is “seriously concerned” about whether the woman received a fair trial, with officials set to speak to Cypriot authorities. Criminal cases in Cyprus are heard without a jury.
A number of senior officials in the Cyprus criminal justice system have also raised objections over the conviction, the Guardian reported.
The fundraiser for the woman’s legal costs – which was originally set up in August – has now raised more than £115,000 after the target was raised from £80,000 to £105,000 following her conviction.
According to the fundraising site, the money will be used to “run an appeal to the Cypriot Supreme Court” against her public mischief conviction.
In court, judge Michalis Papathanasiou said he believed the woman had made false allegations because she felt “embarrassed” after realising she had been filmed having sex in a video found on some of the Israelis’ mobile phones.
“The defendant gave police a false rape claim, while having full knowledge that this was a lie,” he said.
“There was no rape, or violence, and police had carried out a thorough investigation making all necessary arrests.”
The woman has been on bail since the end of August after spending a month in prison. When she is sentenced, she could face a year in jail and a €1,700 (£1,500) fine.
Her mother has since backed calls for tourists to boycott Cyprus, saying that the island – which is visited by more than a million Brits each year – is “absolutely not safe”.