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Cyprus frees Israelis in rape case, accuser arrested


AFP Nicosia
Cyprus police Sunday released from detention seven Israelis and said the British teenager who accused them of gang rape would face court on suspicion of making a false allegation.
"All seven Israelis have been released, since 10:00 am," police spokesman Christos Andreou told AFP.
"The young woman will be taken to court tomorrow morning (Monday)," he added.
Earlier, a police source said the British teenager had been arrested.
"She is facing charges of giving a false statement over an imaginary offence," the police source told AFP.
Initially, the 19-year-old woman had alleged that 12 Israelis gang raped her at the hotel where she was staying in the popular Ayia Napa resort on July 17.
The young Israeli tourists were remanded in custody the next day. But hours before their second appearance in court five of them were released and sent home late on Thursday.
The remaining seven had their remand order renewed for another six days on Friday. None had been charged, and both hearings took place behind closed doors because some of the suspects were minors.
Cyprus-based Israeli lawyer Yaniv Habari, who represents one of the suspects still in custody, said: "The complainant apparently changed her version, and based on that the investigator decided to release the seven." Ayia Napa is a magnet for younger tourists attracted by its party reputation and white sand beaches.
Britain is the island's biggest tourist market with around 1.3 million of its citizens travelling to Cyprus every year while nearby Israel is also becoming a key source of visitors.

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First Published: Jul 28 2019 | 5:20 PM IST

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