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Remand renewed for Israeli gang rape suspects (updated)

police car 02
File photo

The five Israeli nationals accused of gang raping a British tourist in Ayia Napa had their remand renewed on Tuesday.

The group, of which two are aged 20 and three are aged 19, will now remain in custody for another six days after Famagusta District Court Judge Petros Theophilou ruled there is “reasonable suspicion” they may be implicated in the case.

They had been initially arrested on September 4 with the crime allegedly having taken place the previous day.

Two of the five suspects did not appear in court on Tuesday after having tested positive for Covid-19. They were represented in court by their lawyers.

Police told the court that the 20-year-old British woman said one of the five Israelis had “forcibly” taken her to his room after grabbing her hand while she was partying with friends around the hotel pool on September 3, the Daily Mail reported.

According to the woman’s statement, he tried to remove her swimming costume while she pleaded with him to let her leave.

She said the other suspects then entered the room and she was raped.

At some point, she managed to lock herself in the bathroom and began shouting for help. She managed to flee the room and rejoined her friends who went with her to report the rape to the police.

The woman, described by police as being in a “bad psychological state”, identified the five suspects in a line-up.

A friend of the woman told investigators that he saw her leaving the pool area with one of the Israelis but he did not see the suspect using any force.

Two of the suspects admitted to having sex with the woman but insisted it was consensual and denied committing rape. The other three said they had no sexual contact with the woman.

There was no CCTV at the hotel.

About a dozen friends and relatives of the suspects were present in the courtroom during the hearing.

The case is reminiscent of that involving a now 22-year-old British woman who was cleared after being initially found guilty of fabricating a gang rape committed by Israeli tourists back in 2019, who has given her backing to the latest victim.

Speaking to British media, the woman and her family said “we send our heartfelt support to the young woman at the centre of these reports.

“We hope that the Cypriot authorities don’t add the insult to injury of victim-blaming that lead (sic) to pre-trial imprisonment and the wrongful prosecution that was successfully appealed at great emotional and financial cost”.

However, the father of one of the accused has accused the alleged victim of making the attack up for an “insurance scam” in an interview with Israeli media.

“This is the same case like in 2019 when the British tourist made up a story about a group of Israelis. There is no rape here, they didn’t drag her out of the pool and there was nothing,” he said.

He added, “at the police station, I met detainees from all over Europe who are alleged to have committed criminal acts against British people. I would be happy if we saw an intervention from the Israeli embassy [in Cyprus]”.

The Famagusta police are continuing their investigation.

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