British teen remanded in Cyprus custody over rape claim

A British teenager who accused seven Israelis of gang rape leaving the Famagusta District Court in Paralimni in eastern Cyprus. (AFP)
Updated 30 July 2019

British teen remanded in Cyprus custody over rape claim

  • The 19-year-old faces “public mischief” charges that come with a maximum sentence of one year in prison

PARALIMNI, CYPRUS: A British teenager was remanded in custody in Cyprus on Tuesday after she was arrested last week on suspicion of falsely accusing 12 Israeli tourists of gang rape.

The 19-year-old faces “public mischief” charges that come with a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of around 1,700 euros.

The young woman, who was not named, stood grim-faced during the session at the Famagusta District Court in Paralimni in southeast Cyprus without speaking. Her mother was also present.

She covered her face with the hood of her sweatshirt as she left the court and was put into a police van.

Her lawyer Andreas Pittadjis said she is expected to enter a plea when she appears again on Aug. 7.

He asked the court for time to “collect videotapes and statements” gathered by the Cypriot police during the investigation.

Initially, the teenager had alleged that 12 Israelis raped her at the hotel where she was staying in the popular resort of Ayia Napa on July 17.

The tourists aged 15 to 18 were released last week after the woman was arrested on suspicion of “making a false statement about an imaginary crime,” according to Cyprus police.

Ayia Napa is a magnet for younger tourists attracted by its reputation as an all-out party town and for its white-sand beaches.

Britain is the island’s biggest tourist market with around 1.3 million of its citizens traveling to Cyprus every year while nearby Israel is also becoming a key source of visitors.


Pakistan avoids terror financing blacklist for now

Updated 35 sec ago

Pakistan avoids terror financing blacklist for now

  • Pakistan’s government hailed the FATF’s decision, which offers a reprieve to Prime Minister Imran Khan as he works to shore up his country’s faltering economy and attract foreign investment and loans
  • The agency’s assessment expresses “serious concerns with the overall lack of progress by Pakistan” to stop terrorism financing

PARIS: An international monitoring agency has given Pakistan four months to prove it is fighting terrorism financing and money laundering — or it could be put on a damaging global blacklist.
The Financial Action Task Force also threatened Iran, which is already blacklisted, with even tougher restrictions on its international financial activity.
Pakistan’s government on Friday hailed the FATF’s decision, which offers a reprieve to Prime Minister Imran Khan as he works to shore up his country’s faltering economy and attract foreign investment and loans.
“Thank God, we have been successful,” Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, told The Associated Press.
But the agency’s assessment remained grim, expressing “serious concerns with the overall lack of progress by Pakistan” to stop terrorism financing.
In a statement after meetings this week at its Paris headquarters, the FATF said Pakistan has addressed only five of 27 measures required to avoid being blacklisted.
If Pakistan doesn’t act by February, FATF president Xiangmin Lui said the agency could put the country on its blacklist, which currently includes only Iran and North Korea.
Experts say the move means every international financial transaction with Pakistan will be closely scrutinized and doing business in Pakistan will become costly and cumbersome. International agencies could place restrictions on lending money to Pakistan, including key creditors such as the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.
“Pakistan has not done enough,” Xiangmin told a news conference.
Pakistan should do more to track money transfers and investigate and prosecute terrorism financiers, among other steps, the FATF said.
Qureshi insisted that Pakistan has “taken maximum steps against terror financing.”
“We will continue to take all the required steps, and all conspiracies against us have failed,” he told The AP.
Meanwhile, the watchdog expressed “disappointment” that Iran isn’t taking the necessary steps to be removed from the blacklist, and said it’s asking all member countries to tighten scrutiny of any financial transactions involving Iran.
Virtual currencies such as bitcoin and Facebook’s Libra are also prompting concern from the FATF, which warned of “new risks” from such products. It said they’re being “closely monitored” to ensure they’re not used to finance terrorism or launder money.