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30 May, 2024
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Cyprus overhauls rape investigations

New rules after Ayia Napa case call for same-gender officers and statements recorded down to the smallest detail


Cyprus police say from now on rape accusers will receive emotional support and be interviewed by officers of the same gender, as new guidelines begin to take hold following the vindication of a British woman who did not get fair treatment on the island.

According to Philenews, police spokesperson Christos Andreou said alleged victims of rape will from now on be interviewed by officers of the same gender, while new rules include instructions for statements by the accusers to be recorded down to the smallest detail.

Earlier this month a Cypriot delegation including police officers, health ministry staff, social welfare workers, and legal department officials traveled to Glasgow to be coached by experts in how to set up and run a Sexual Assault Referral Center on the island.

The trip took place several weeks after the Supreme Court in the Republic of Cyprus overturned the conviction of a British young woman, who was given a four-month suspended sentence for making up claims after withdrawing a complaint that she was gang-raped by young Israeli males while on a working holiday in Ayia Napa back in summer 2019.

Alleged victims of rape will be interviewed by officers of the same gender while new rules include instructions for statements by the accusers to be recorded down to the smallest detail

The 2 to 1 ruling scolded law enforcement for failing to respect the young woman’s rights during a late-night prolonged interrogation when a male officer took over the process and further schooled the judge who convicted her of public mischief for failing to treat her fairly in his courtroom.

Andreou said new guidelines will include video recordings of statements in cases when the alleged rape victim is under the age of 14, while upon request an interview will also be taped if the accuser is under 17.

Police guidelines will also make explicit that scenes of alleged rape will need to be “cordoned off immediately so that evidence may not be lost or tainted.”

Initial reports after the initial complaint was made public suggested the hotel room where the alleged rape took place had been left unsecured and was even rented out, with an Israeli journalist saying she had interviewed the guests who said they found a used condom and an empty bottle of vodka in the room after being allowed to check in less than 24 hours following the alleged attack.

The new guidelines will also call on prosecutors to move quickly on cases before a court of law while officials handling the case will be instructed to transport alleged victims to specific locations designed for the purpose and arrange for emotional support.

Back in Glasgow, Cypriot health ministry’s Chief Health Officer Olga Kalakouta pointed out during the trip that “cases of rape and sexual assault require sensitive handling and we are in the process of developing victim-centered approaches, with valuable help from our friends in the UK.”

Cyprus  |  Ayia Napa  |  rape  |  police  |  investigation  |  British  |  Israel  |  hotel

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