December 11, 2023

A court in Cyprus has heard graphic details of the alleged gang rape of a young British woman, as the Israeli men accused of assaulting her were told they will be kept behind bars for another week.

The 20-year-old British tourist said she was raped by a group of five Israelis, aged between 19 and 20, after a pool party at a three-star hotel in Ayia Napa, a resort town known for its bars, clubs and beaches.

The Israelis were arrested shortly after the alleged gang rape on Sept 3 and remanded in custody for eight days, a period which on Tuesday was extended for another six days.

‌Petros Theophilou, a judge in Paralimini, a town just a few miles from Ayia Napa, ruled that there is “reasonable suspicion” that the Israelis are implicated in the case. He said they will remain in detention until police can complete the gathering of evidence.

‌The British woman told Cypriot police that one of the five Israelis had “forcibly” grabbed her and taken her to his room as she was partying with friends around the pool of the Hotel Fedrania Gardens.

She was not able to appeal for help because the alleged incident happened in a secluded part of the hotel complex, she said.

‌The man then ripped off her bathing suit, despite her protests, and was joined in the hotel room by the other suspects, she said.

‘Fled to the bathroom’

One allegedly raped her while another forced her to perform oral sex, according to her witness statement. She was then raped again by another of the Israelis, she said.

‌She fled to the bathroom and locked herself in, yelling for help.

‌Eventually she managed to escape the hotel room by pushing aside her alleged attackers.

‌She found her friends and together they reported the alleged gang rape to hotel staff, who in turn called the police.

‌When officers arrived, they said they found the suspects using bed sheets to try to clean blood stains from the floor of the hotel room.

‌In a line-up organised by police, the woman identified the Israelis as her attackers.

‘Bad psychological state’

‌Andreas Nikolettis, a police officer, said the British woman was in a “bad psychological state” after the alleged attack.

‌Two of the Israelis have admitted to having intercourse and oral sex with the woman, but insisted it was consensual. The other three said they had no sexual contact with the woman.

‌When they next appear in court, they are expected to plead to charges including rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment and abduction. Police are carrying out forensic tests on bed sheets and clothing taken from the hotel room.

‌The young woman, who is now back in the UK, is being represented by Michael Polak, a British lawyer who was involved in a similar case four years ago.

‌That case involved a British teenager who alleged she was gang raped by a group of men in a hotel room in Ayia Napa.

‌He said that the British woman in the latest case is “determined to see that justice is done”.

‌An online appeal has been launched to raise funds to pay for her legal costs.

‌Two of the suspects did not appear in court because they were in isolation recovering from Covid-19.

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