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Cyprus releases Israelis accused of rape, arrests British accuser

Flag of Cyprus [file photo]

All 12 Israeli teens who were accused of gang rape have now been released and had the charges against them dropped by southern Cypriot authorities, while the British woman who filed the claim has been arrested.

The 19-year-old woman, who was a British holidaymaker on the southern part of the Mediterranean island, filed the crime on 17 July, accusing the 12 Israeli teenagers of raping her in a hotel room in the popular holiday resort of Ayia Napa.

The Israelis were arrested the following day and kept in custody, before five of them were sent home hours prior to their second scheduled court hearing last Thursday due to a lack of evidence. The other seven were released yesterday after the woman retracted her testimony, media reports have revealed.

The state-run Cyprus News Agency reported the woman allegedly told investigators that while she was in a relationship with one of the Israelis, she engaged in sexual contact with other members of the group over the following days and was filmed by them in the process, making her feel “angry and insulted” enough to file the false accusation.

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“I went down from the room and met two of my friends,” she said, according to the Israeli media outlet Channel 12. “I told them what had happened and they immediately told me to file a complaint with police.”

The Israeli suspects, however, claimed that the filming and “everything was consensual”.

Denying all allegations against him, the main suspect said he and another friend had consensual sex with the complainant that night, and no one else was in the room. He changed his story again later on, saying that a few friends entered the room, but only watched.

However Haaretz reported that police in the Cypriot city of Famagusta had said “the main suspect ignored the complainant’s pleas to stop and became violent; the suspect then called his friends into the room, and about a dozen people entered and watched. Some allegedly joined in the assault, and a few filmed it on their phones.”

The 12 Israelis had reportedly come to the island in three separate groups, with some of them visiting the resort before being conscripted into the three-year compulsory military service that Israel imposes on its citizens.

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