Five Israelis kept in custody until gang rape trial

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Five Israeli tourists will remain in police custody until their trial begins next month for allegedly gang-raping a young Briton in the popular Cyprus holiday resort of Ayia Napa, a court ruled on Thursday.

The Famagusta district court delayed its decision for two days but has granted the state’s prosecution request that the suspects remain in custody until the trial before a criminal court on October 5, police said.

The five men, aged between 19 and 20, face rape-related charges of sexual assault by penetration, forced sexual intercourse, coercion into engaging in sexual acts, indecent assault against a woman, sexual harassment, and abduction.

They have been in custody since September 4 after a 20-year-old British tourist told police she had been gang-raped in a hotel room the previous day.

In another case in Ayia Napa four years ago, 12 Israelis were arrested after a teenage British girl reported that she had been attacked.

The Israelis were released after she retracted her statement but also said police had pressured her into doing so.

The 19-year-old girl 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.