A British tourist who was arrested on suspicion of filing a false gang-rape accusation against a group of 12 Israeli teenagers in Cyprus was remanded in custody Monday by a local court, as Cypriot police prepared to file charges against her instead.
The Famagusta District Court in Paralimni ordered she be held for a further 24 hours, a day after her arrest on Sunday.
The woman, 19, who has not been named in media reports, is expected to be indicted on Tuesday when her UK attorney will arrive in the country, Hebrew media reported. She will be charged with disturbing the public order, an offence that can carry up to a year in prison and a fine.
The UK tourist filed a police complaint a week and a half ago against the Israelis, ranging in age from 15 to 18, who were staying at the Pambos Napa Rocks Hotel, on the island nation’s southeastern coast. The woman told police two of the suspects held her down by the arms as she cried to be let go. She said that their friends then raped her, taking turns, and that several beat her.
On Sunday, the woman revised her testimony to say that the sex was consensual, explaining that she accused the Israelis because she felt humiliated after they filmed the act without her consent and booted her from the hotel room in the holiday resort town of Ayia Napa where they had been staying, Hebrew-language media reported.
Five of the Israeli suspects had already been released last week and the remaining seven were cleared of the charges Sunday, after which they returned to Israel. They were greeted by friends and supporters at Ben Gurion Airport with champagne celebrations, declaring they regretted nothing.
Some of the Israeli youths have said they plan to file a joint lawsuit against the woman. Channel 13 reported they intend claim at least 60,000 euros ($66,740) in damages and that local authorities are also considering a lawsuit against the tourist for the high cost of the investigation.
After confessing she made up the rape, the woman told investigators she had consensual sex with three of the teens but when she refused to let a fourth join in, he kicked her out of the room, Channel 12 TV news reported. She was angry at the humiliation and after telling two of her friends what had happened, they advised her to file a complaint with police.
Police have summoned her friends to give testimony in the case against her.
Cyprus will take legal action against anyone who helped promote the rape allegation, Ayia Napa Mayor Yiannis Karousos told Channel 13 Sunday, “including the girl who gave the alleged statement to police.”
“In the following days, the council of ministers will approve the installation of CCTV cameras around the city of Ayia Napa, the first of their type in Cyprus,” he added. “Because tourists don’t just have to be safe, they have to feel they are safe.”
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