Five Israelis are charged with gang-raping British tourist in Cyprus
- The group were held after accusations from the woman following a pool party
- Officers rounded up the men who were on holiday in the resort of Ayia Napa
Five Israeli men have been formally charged with gang raping a British holidaymaker in Cyprus and are set to face trial next month.
The group, all aged between 19 and 20 years old, were held after the woman complained to police that she had been targeted following a pool party at her three-star hotel earlier this month.
Officers quickly rounded up the men who were on holiday in the party resort of Ayia Napa, in a case that has harrowing similarities with an incident in 2019, involving another British holidaymaker who was gang raped by a group of Israelis.
In the latest case the five appeared in a packed court in Famagusta on Monday after being held in custody since the alleged rape and were told their trial would begin on October 5 as their families looked on.
They are charged with rape, sexual assault by penetration, sexual intercourse through violence, rape by compelling sexual penetration, indecent assault against a woman, sexual harassment, and abduction.
The group, all aged between 19 and 20, were held after the woman complained to police that she had been targeted following a pool party in Ayia Napa earlier this month (file image)
The Court has ordered their detention until Tuesday, pending a decision on whether to grant the public prosecutor’s request to keep them in custody until the trial.
The five men deny raping the 20-year-old, who had identified four of them in a line-up before returning to the UK.
According to a leaked report she had bruises and injuries consistent with an attack and a statement from her was read out by the prosecutor which went into the horrific assault, and which is too graphic to publish.
The court also heard several staff had witnessed the aftermath of the alleged attack and would testify at the hearing – including how they saw the victim fleeing by climbing from a window on the second floor of the Fedrania Gardens hotel.
A forensic search of the room where the attack happened found traces of blood on the floor and on sheets on the bed.
The men, who are all from the Arab Israeli town of Majd al-Krum near Acre, all deny the charges, insisting the sex was consensual.
The woman told police she had been taken by force to the hotel room after one of the men started flirting with her and then after he attacked her the others joined in.
Lawyer Michael Polak from campaign Group Justice Abroad, who is representing the woman and who also acted for the 2019 victim, told MailOnline: ‘We are pleased that the case is moving ahead and look forward to a just resolution.’
But Nir Yaslovitzh, who is representing two of the accused said: ‘A perusal of the investigation material reveals that the investigation material collected by the police is full of holes like Swiss cheese.
‘I am confident that like the previous case in Ayia Napa of the rape that never occurred, so it will be proven in the present case that my clients are innocent of any crime.’
A relative of one of the five Israelis covers her face with a bag as she leaves the Famagusta District Courthouse in Paralimni, Cyprus, last week
Earlier this month the woman in the first case exclusively told MailOnline: ‘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 to pre-trial imprisonment and the wrongful prosecution that was successfully appealed at great emotional and financial cost.’
‘This was achieved with support from UK media, politicians and with funds raised through GoFundMe and from individual donors for which we remain especially grateful.’
The now 22-year-old had gone from victim to accused after police dismissed her claims and said she had made them up and she was eventually given a 16-week suspended sentence in January 2020 before the verdict was overturned by the Cyprus Supreme Court.
The woman in the latest case has set up a crowd funding page to help pay legal costs and has a target of £8000 with the total standing at £840.