UK to raise concerns with Cyprus after British teen is found guilty of false rape claim

The woman's charge carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a fine

The UK is "seriously concerned about the fair trial guarantees" in the case of a British teenager found guilty of lying about being gang-raped in Cyprus, the Foreign Office has said.

The government department also described the British woman's case as "deeply distressing" and said it will be raising its concerns with Cypriot authorities.

Lawyers and campaigners criticised the justice system after the 19-year-old woman was convicted of public mischief on Monday.

A district court in the town of Paralimni ruled the woman, who cannot be named, had falsely claimed to have been sexually abused by 12 Israeli teenagers in a hotel room.

Her mother described the verdict as "absolutely astonishing" and said her daughter was "effectively in a gilded cage" after Judge Michalis Papathanasiou adjourned sentencing until 7 January.

She told ITV News: "It would be an absolute injustice if they decide to imprison her for any more days than the four-and-a-half weeks she's already spent in prison.

"She is resolute to see justice, she's absolutely resolute that she'll fight it, she wants to appeal and I will fully support her 100% as will her lawyers so we'll continue on with appeal and go down that route, if we end up in the European Court of Human Rights that's great."

The teenager is set to appeal against the ruling after she was found guilty of lying about a sex attack, her lawyers have said.

The woman from Derbyshire, who had been due to go to university in September, claimed in court she was raped but forced to change her account under pressure from Cypriot police.

She said the attack took place on the holiday resort of Ayia Napa on 17 July.

She had told the court she had been in the room with one of the Israeli youths, who she said she was in a relationship with.

She said the others then appeared, and she was pinned down and attacked.

The woman was charged with public mischief after withdrawing her claim 10 days after the alleged attack.

Mr Papathanasiou described the woman's claims as "inconsistent", concluding that her guilt had been proven "beyond reasonable doubt".

He added 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 judge said: "The defendant gave police a false rape claim, while having full knowledge that this was a lie.

"There was no rape, or violence, and police had carried out a thorough investigation making all necessary arrests."

Prosecutors said she had fabricated the allegation, angry at being filmed during sex.

Defence witness, Marios Matsakis, a forensic pathologist, said the woman's injuries were consistent with rape.

The accused men, who were all on holiday at the time, have always denied any wrongdoing.

They were released without charge on the day she withdrew the accusation.

They were not summoned to appear in court.

A lawyer for a number of the accused men, Nir Yaslovitzh, said he was happy she had been convicted, and said he hoped the court would "impose a hard punishment to reflect the damage done to my client".

The woman is due to be sentenced on 7 January.

The charge of public mischief carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail and a €1,700 (£1,500) fine.

Her lawyers have asked the court for a suspended sentence.

In her appeal, her lawyers argue that blood on a condom supported the teenager's account and that a pathology report failed to note bruises on her body. They also say authorities failed to protect the scene of crime and did not investigate communication data of the Israeli youths.

They added that the teenager is "determined for justice to be done in her case as well as to help change the culture towards victims of sexual offences in Cyprus".

She had been working in Cyprus for the summer, ahead of starting university.

She spent over a month in prison before being granted bail at the end of August, and was placed on a stop list preventing her from leaving the island.

Leaving the court following the ruling, she concealed her face with a brightly coloured scarf.

She also wore a partial-face mask with the lips sewn together with thick black thread, brought by protesters from the Network Against Violence Against Women who have been supporting her case.

None of the Israelis gave evidence during the trial and the woman's legal team criticised the judge's refusal to consider evidence of the alleged rape.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "The UK is seriously concerned about the fair trial guarantees in this deeply distressing case and we will be raising the issue with the Cypriot authorities."