5 tourists arrested over alleged gang rape in Cyprus


Five Israeli tourists were again remanded in Cyprus police custody for six days Tuesday in connection with the alleged gang rape of a young Briton in Ayia Napa, authorities said.

The five men, aged between 19 and 20, were arrested after a 20-year-old British tourist told police she was gang-raped on September 3 in a hotel room at the seaside resort.

On September 4, the five were remanded for eight days, and on Tuesday at Paralimni district court they were ordered to remain in custody for six more days, police said.

They face possible charges of rape, sexual coercion, forced sexual intercourse, sexual harassment, abduction and indecent assault against a woman.

The state-funded Cyprus News Agency said the arrests came after police secured witness testimony to support the allegation.

Only three suspects appeared in court Tuesday because two are in quarantine after contracting Covid-19, CNA said.

According to the Cypriot Philenews website, forensic examiners found injuries and bruises on the woman.

Israeli media reported she told police she struck up a conversation with one suspect by the hotel pool and that he pulled her by the arm to the room and then tried to remove her swimsuit.

According to Israel’s Walla website, the woman said she resisted, but two more men appeared and raped her. It said the woman picked out the suspects from a police lineup.

The incident is reminiscent of a gang rape case in Ayia Napa four years ago when 12 Israelis were arrested for attacking a teenage British girl.

They were released after she retracted her statement but said police pressured her into doing so.

The 19-year-old was convicted in 2020 for causing public mischief and given a four-month suspended jail term.

In 2022, the Supreme Court quashed her conviction on appeal after defence lawyers argued there had been a miscarriage of justice.

Police later said they would examine whether mistakes had been made in the investigation.

UK-based Justice Abroad, which successfully appealed the conviction, has taken on the new case after the woman’s family requested their help.

Official tourism figures for July show Israelis were the second largest group of visitors to Cyprus at 10.2 percent, or more than 46,400 arrivals, behind Britain at 34.8 percent.


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