NICOSIA, July 30 (Xinhua) -- A judge in the southeastern city of Paralimni in Cyprus on Tuesday granted seven days to a 19-year-old British girl to reply to a charge of lodging a false complaint about having been gang raped, because of its seriousness as a result of the impact on other people.
"The charge of mischief is classified as a crime, without being a serious one in itself. However, it became a serious one because of its impact on 12 other young people," Judge Tonia Nicolaou said when the girl appeared before her.
The 12 Israelis, aged between 15 and 18, returned to their country after they were released from custody, as a result of the admission of the girl that she had consensual sex with some of them in her hotel room at Ayia Napa seaside resort.
Police sources said the turning point in the case came when one of the suspects the girl claimed was among her attackers was able to prove that at the material time he was in bed with his girlfriend, who took a selfie of them.
The girl was led into the court, with police women protecting her face under a hood, to give her reply to the public mischief charge to judge Nicolaou.
The court room was taken over again on Tuesday by foreign journalists, most of them from Britain and Israel.
The lawyer of the accused girl, Andreas Pittatzis, said he requested a week's postponement to examine the details of the charge and of the testimonial evidence collected by investigators.
"After we receive the testimonial evidence we will inform the accused of the options before her to decide which her reply will be when she reappears before the judge again on August 7," Pittatzis said.
Judge Nicolaou said she decided to grant the delay request because of the seriousness of the case and the wide attention it received internationally.
The judge ordered the accused to be kept in custody until her trial as there was a possibility of fleeing the country.
The judge added that the mischief charge carries a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine of up to 1,700 euros.
All 12 suspects remained in police custody for eight days after the girl gave a statement to police claiming that they had raped her on July 17. Five of them were remanded in custody for another eight days but were released three days early after the girl changed her testimony.
She was reported to have admitted to the police that she filed the false rape complaint because she became angry after some of the Israelis filmed her consensual sex acts with their mobiles.
The Israelis had been on vacation before enlisting in the Israeli army.
Ayia Napa Mayor Yannis Karousos said the municipal council is considering taking legal action for the defamation of his city.
"The case was internationally reported in a way giving the impression that we are a city of sin," he told state radio.
"We are mulling who to turn against," he added.