Cyprus police arrest Briton in rape claim, free Israelis


FILE PHOTO: Journalists are seen in front a police bus transfering Israeli tourists, arrested over the alleged rape of a British tourist in the resort town of Ayia Napa, in the Famagusta courthouse in Paralimni, Cyprus July 26, 2019. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

ATHENS (Reuters) – Police in Cyprus said they arrested a 19-year-old British woman on Sunday on suspicion of filing a false complaint of gang rape for which a dozen Israeli teens had been detained as suspects.

Seven of the Israelis were released on Sunday, a police official said. Five had been released last week.

The 12 individuals had initially been detained on a court order in mid-July after the woman said she had been assaulted in a hotel room in the resort of Ayia Napa. The youths had denied the claim.

“Rape never took place,” one police source said. The woman is being held on suspicion of public mischief after giving another statement to police.

“The alleged victim has refrained from her statement and will be charged with public nuisance for giving false testimony,” Ioannis Habaris, a lawyer for some of the suspects, told Reuters TV.

He said their next course of action would be filing a civil lawsuit against the woman on behalf of the youths.

By law, Cypriot authorities are required within 24 hours of an arrest to take a suspect before a magistrate where an extension of remand can be requested.

Israeli Education Minister Rafael Peretz, speaking to reporters outside a cabinet meeting on Sunday, said of the Cyprus case: “We need to check the details. We are certainly in favor of the children of Israel having the highest moral standard.”

Reporting by Yiannis Kourtoglou in Paralimni, Cyprus, Michele Kambas in Athens, Dan Williams in Jerusalem; Editing by Susan Fenton and Dale Hudson

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