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Scandinavian woman ‘forced to withdraw rape claim’ in case similar to British teen’s Cyprus ordeal


The British woman is led into a courthouse in Paralimni, Cyprus - AFP
The British woman is led into a courthouse in Paralimni, Cyprus – AFP

A Scandinavian woman says she was forced by Cypriot police to withdraw a rape claim or face arrest, in a striking parallel to the case of a British teenager who was allegedly gang raped on the Mediterranean island.

The Scandinavian woman said police officers questioned her aggressively for several hours after she was raped by two men outside a nightclub.

The officers accused her of lying and said that if she did not withdraw the rape claim they would arrest her and send her to prison.

Her account bears striking similarities to the alleged treatment of a British teenager who was convicted last week of lying about being gang-raped by Israeli tourists in the resort town of Ayia Napa.

She made the initial complaint in July but 10 days later, after being questioned without a lawyer for eight hours in a police station, signed a retraction statement.

<span>The alleged gang rape of the British teenager happened in the resort of Ayia Napa</span> <span>Credit: AFP </span>
The alleged gang rape of the British teenager happened in the resort of Ayia Napa Credit: AFP

She faces sentencing on Tuesday  and could be jailed for up to a year and fined 1,700 euro (£1,500) at Famagusta District Court in Paralimni.

The 19-year-old British woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the trial that officers threatened to arrest her and her friends unless she retracted the claims of being gang raped by a group of young Israeli men.

After reading about the Ayia Napa case, the Scandinavian woman decided to come forward with her account of similar treatment at the hands of the Cypriot police 20 years ago.

It is the first time she has spoken publicly of the assault and has previously only discussed it with her doctor and her husband.

Now aged 43, she was 21 when she met the men in a nightclub in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, in January 1998.

They offered to give her a lift to her hotel. Instead, they raped her in a car park. “I fought for my life and thought I was going to die,” she told The Telegraph.

She went to the nearest police station to report the rape and was taken to a hospital for an examination.

She was then taken to a police station for questioning. “The main investigator was extremely brutal and aggressive. I was in big shock so I had some difficulties remembering details.

“This made him very angry. He then started accusing me of making the whole story up to receive money from my insurance company.”

The same allegation was made by in court by Cypriot police against the British woman.

Both alleged victims said they were mystified by the accusation because they did not think that holiday insurance covered rape and had no intention of claiming any financial compensation.

“I was very afraid and felt trapped in the room with them. They treated me as a big criminal. They kept me in the police station for many hours. They told me that if I didn’t withdraw the rape allegation they would arrest me and send me to prison. So I did and they let me go,” said the Scandinavian woman, who asked to remain anonymous.

She said she was still deeply affected by the ordeal and had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder – just like the British teenager who is on trial. “The treatment I received from police was terrible,” she said.

<span>Michael Polak, a British lawyer representing the teenager in the trial</span> <span>Credit: AFP </span>
Michael Polak, a British lawyer representing the teenager in the trial Credit: AFP

Michael Polak, a British lawyer representing the British woman, told The Telegraph: “This case bears remarkable similarities to the teenager’s case. It raises serious questions about the investigation of rape in Cyprus and the treatment of rape complainants there.”

In a report in 1998, a Norwegian newspaper claimed that police on the island routinely dismissed rape claims, treating the victims as liars.

The report quoted a Norwegian tour operator who said that “police never take rape claims seriously. All such claims are treated as false.”

“Police have a theory that tourists make such allegations so they can claim expenses for their holiday,” the report said.

A senior Cyprus police officer was quoted as saying: “Why rape when it’s so easy to find somebody to have sex with?”



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Bollywood’s Rani Mukerji wants women to protect themselves amid devastating rape crisis


Rani Mukerji is hoping new Bollywood film Mardaani 2 sparks a huge change in India, amid a devastating rape crisis.

In the sequel – which is released in cinemas on 13 December, the 41-year-old reprises her role as police officer Shivani – who attempts to hunt down a young serial killer, targeting young women, brutally raping and murdering them.

The movie comes after similar crimes have been devastating India, with reports of young girls being raped making worldwide news on a weekly basis.

And, speaking to Metro.co.uk about the film, Rani hopes that it will encourage women to protect themselves from attackers, by learning ‘self-defence’.

‘The most important change I would like to see is that women use their platforms to talk about what we can do, and how we can learn certain self-defence tricks to be able to protect them from difficult situations,’ she told us.

‘We need to accept that we are facing this reality today, which is horrendous and scary, but it’s the reality today so we have to deal with it, and face it with a lot of courage.

Rani is starring in Mardaani 2 (Picture: Yash Raj Films)

‘I think that’s the change I’m looking for.

‘There are people in power who can learn something, and become part of the discussion, that would be mean so much to me as an actor. At the end of the day I’m a woman, and these things do bother me. How do you talk to the nation and tell them to be aware?’

Rani has come under fire for similar comments in the past, following a round-table discussion with her fellow Bollywood actresses.

During the chat, she again suggested young girls should learn self-defence as a method of protection, with Deepika Padukone arguing that it shouldn’t even ‘get to that stage.

Rani hopes the film opens up a discussion on rape (Picture: Yash Raj Films)

Fans were unhappy with Rani’s words, explaining that women shouldn’t be the ones to change.

But the Kuch Kuch Hota Hai actress is adamant that women should not be ‘caught’ in that situation, and hopes to show females that they also have ‘power’ in scary situations.

‘Shivani’s character is the true embodiment of women empowerment,’ she continued. ‘When women and girls see her, they get empowered.

‘When you’re talking about victims, you always think a woman is a victim, but women have the power as well.

Rani insisted men will also feel empowered while watching Mardaani 2 (Picture: Yash Raj Films)

‘We have to start the conversation with every woman so that she’s not caught in a situation like that.’

And she also insists that men will also feel empowered while watching Mardaani 2 – which shows a strong female hunting down a violent rapist, reiterating that not all men are capable of the horrific crimes portrayed.

‘Men will take the same message,’ she said. ‘I don’t think, as a community, that all men are the perpetrators of the crime.

‘There are a lot of men who stand for women’s rights and empowerment, a lot of men who are disgusted when crimes like this happen, so I’m sure men will also appreciate the talk about empowering themselves.

More: Showbiz

‘Men will equally be very proud of the fact that women are being empowered.’

And she is thrilled the film is starting a conversation that should have been sparked a long, long time ago.

‘[The reaction] has been very, very positive. People are reacting to it very emotionally. It’s sparking a conversation, which is really powerful,’ she added.

‘This is the conversation we should be having.’

Mardaani 2 is released in cinemas on 13 December.



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Four Suspects In Rape And Murder Of 27-Year-Old Vet Are Shot Dead By Police


Police said the suspects were shot trying to escape during a reconstruction at the scene of the crime that took place in the early hours of the morning.

Posted on December 6, 2019, at 3:54 a.m. ET


Reuters Tv / Reuters

Police arrive at the scene where four suspects were shot dead.

NEW DELHI — Four men suspected of raping and killing a 27-year-old woman before burning her body have been shot dead by police in India.

According to police, the suspects, all of whom were in custody, were shot attempting to escape during a reconstruction at the scene of the crime in Hyderabad, a city in South India.

According to a police statement on the incident, the four suspects tried to snatch a gun from an officer before attempting to flee through a deserted lane and were subsequently shot by police.

Police said the shooting took place in the early hours of Friday — according to police, they had taken the suspects to the crime scene at such an early hour to prevent acts of violence by angry citizens.

DCP Shamshabad Prakash Reddy: Cyberabad Police had brought the accused persons to the crime spot for re-construction of the sequence of events. The accused snatched weapon and fired on Police. In self defence the police fired back, in which the accused were killed. #Telangana https://t.co/4wAH9W8g3O

India is experiencing yet another cycle of mindless violence against women — just yesterday, a woman in North India who said she was raped by two men was set on fire when she was on her way to court for a hearing in her case. Five men were arrested in connection with the attack.

Public anger over inefficient governance and law enforcement following the violence women face has led to growing calls for capital punishment and chemical castration.


Sam Panthaky / Getty Images

Demonstrators from the National Congress Party (NCP) hang and beat a dummy of a rapist as they protest against sexual violence against women following the rape and killing of a 27-year-old woman in Hyderabad.

Several reports after the rape and murder of the woman in Hyderabad, a veterinary doctor who cannot be named for legal reasons, revealed that the police wasted precious time in investigating the woman’s disappearance after her family filed a complaint — the police even suggested it was futile looking for her as she had “probably eloped” with a lover.

After news of the shooting broke in India this morning, citizens in Hyderabad showered police officers with rose petals and praised their bravery.

#WATCH Hyderabad: People celebrate and cheer for police at the encounter site where the four accused were killed in an encounter earlier today. #Telangana

On Twitter, police from Telangana, the state which Hyderabad is the capital of, were congratulated for delivering “swift justice.”

My salute to the #hyderabadpolice department for the Action they took… waiting for the day where every women feels safe and secure to live in this country..

India’s National Human Rights Commission said the shooting of the suspects needed to be “probed very carefully.”

And others said they were incredibly disturbed at the growing bloodthirsty and mob violence in the country, and demanded an investigation into the police violence.

More than 95% rapes in India are committed by someone known to the victim including family members. Think carefully before applauding police execution of rapists.

There’s only one way to worsen the hideous Hyderabad rape, and this is it–to celebrate custodial murder in place of judicial process. It won’t bring the vet back, and it will further undermine the point of justice in a country bedevilled with mob lynchings. #hyderabadencounter

I have filed a complaint about the extrajudicial killing of the 4 accused in the PriyankaReddyCase with the NHRC : diary number 14564/IN/2019. Of course, in the NHRC its mostly the police investigating the police … but …

Please, please educate yourself about the extent and enormity of violence against women before you applaud extreme and chilling extra-judicial measures that do absolutely nothing to fix the problem of violent masculinity in India, or fix the deeply broken trial system.

According to the Deccan Herald newspaper, a senior police officer in Hyderabad was involved in a similar shooting at his previous post, when his team shot a group of men who had allegedly attacked two women with acid.

These extra-judicial killings, where the police shoot and kill suspects allegedly in self-defense, are known as “encounter killings” in several parts of South Asia.





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MANDEL: Sex assault acquittal overturned after judge use ‘discredited rape myths’


She didn’t dress the way he’d expect. She didn’t react the way he’d expect.

She simply didn’t behave the way an Ontario judge expected a sexual assault victim to behave.

After all these years, some on the bench are still trapped in biases of the past. And so Ontario Court Justice Peter J. Wright acquitted the man on trial, finding Richard Lacombe hadn’t twice assaulted his neighbour who lived in an assisted care residence for persons with disabilities.

Among the many factors he found significant?

“She dressed in a loose fitting pyjama top with no bra and underwear, engaging with a man that she really did not know well at all, including significant French kissing.”

The Ontario Court of Appeal has overturned that 2017 acquittal and ordered a new trial, finding the trial judge’s analysis was tainted by “long-discredited myths and stereotypes about sexual assault complainants.”

According to the woman, her neighbour knocked on her door and invited her out for a cigarette on the fire escape. As they chatted, she claimed he began touching and pinching her breasts. She asked him to stop but he just laughed, she said, and put his hand down her pants and rubbed her hard.

When he French kissed her, she kissed him back because, she said, he wasn’t listening to her and she feared he would hit her.

When she went back to her room, she saw that he’d caused her to bleed. She was too terrified to tell anyone.

The following evening, the second alleged assault took place under virtually the same circumstances. She agreed to meet him for a smoke because she was afraid of his reaction if she turned him down, she explained. She became more frightened when the man allegedly got angry when she refused to masturbate him.

This time, though, she complained to her boyfriend and a girlfriend. She listened to their advice and called police.

Lacombe’s story was far different. He said she was the one who came to his room, flashed her breasts and asked him to touch her. But besides that brief consensual touching and a further “peck on the lips” the following night, he insisted nothing else happened between them.

The trial judge listed 11 factors that made him question the woman’s credibility, including the way she was dressed, her failure to leave the situation at once or to immediately report what happened.

He then invoked “common sense and life experiences” to conclude that he should reject her version of events.

The Crown appealed and a Superior Court judge upheld Lacombe’s acquittal.

The Crown appealed again and this time, Ontario’s highest court agreed a retrial was necessary because the judge was working from an outdated lens of “rape myths.”

“Dress does not signify consent, nor does it justify assaultive behaviour,” wrote Justice Sarah E. Pepall on behalf of the three-judge panel. “As such, it had no place in the trial judge’s assessment of the complainant’s credibility and reliability.”

Nor should he have placed any weight on her not immediately telling friends or police.

“The myth that a sexual assault complainant is less credible if she does not immediately complain is one of the more notorious examples of the speculation that in the past has passed for truth in this difficult area of human behaviour and the law,” Pepall wrote, quoting a decision already a decade old.

The appeal court was also critical of the trial judge for questioning why the complainant would have kissed Lacombe and not left.

“There is no rule as to how victims of sexual assault are apt to behave,” Pepall wrote in a stern rebuke. “He was comparing her conduct to conduct he expected of a sexual assault complainant without giving any consideration to her evidence of fear.”

Or as another judge once wisely stated: “These cases should never be decided on how abuse victims are expected to react by people who have never suffered abuse.”

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