Israeli teens accused of gang rape freed; victim to appear in Cyprus court
A British teenager is due to appear in court in Cyprus today over accusations she invented a gang-rape attack while on holiday there.
As the 19-year-old was arrested on Sunday, a group of Israelis who had been held over the alleged attack were freed by police on the island.
The 12 men, aged from 15 to 18, had been arrested 12 days ago following the woman’s report that she had been raped at a budget hotel in the resort of Ayia Napa, where both she and the Israelis were staying.
She told police that up to a dozen men had held her down before taking it in turns to sexually assault her. Five were released on Thursday after DNA testing and the remaining seven were freed yesterday after the woman ‘changed her story’.
The suspects, who were on holiday before starting national service, have now been allowed to fly back to Israel.
It is believed the woman had had a holiday fling with one of the suspects before the allegations were made. Defence lawyers told a court during a custody hearing on Friday that she then had sexual contact with several of the others over the following days.
A police source told The Associated Press that, during questioning just after midnight yesterday, the accuser withdrew her previous statement, saying there had been sexual contact with the suspects but she wasn’t raped.
Local news agencies reported that the teenager told investigators she filed a rape report because she was ‘angry and insulted’ that a number of the Israelis allegedly recorded a video of her having sex with some of them.
On the back of her new evidence, the woman, who has not been identified, was arrested on suspicion of making a false allegation and will appear in court in Paralimni, near Ayia Napa, today.
Jubilant relatives were at the police station in Paralimni yesterday to greet the seven teenagers on their release. Some of them were driven straight to the airport.
‘All seven Israelis have been released,’ police spokesman Christos Andreou said last night. ‘The young woman will be taken to court tomorrow morning.’
Attorney Nir Jeslovich, who represented some of the Israelis, said: ‘As I have argued throughout the process, there was no rape. The police conducted a thorough, professional investigation.’
Mr Jeslovich said the suspects arrived in Cyprus in three different parties and did not know each other before meeting on holiday.
The girl’s claim had begun to unravel when it emerged one of the men was in bed with his girlfriend at the time of the alleged attack. A picture taken by the girlfriend showing him asleep eventually saw police release him.
‘My girlfriend’s selfie saved my life,’ he told a Cypriot TV station.Daily Mail