Cyprus police say they found videos of alleged rape on Israeli suspects’ phones
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Cyprus police say they found videos of alleged rape on Israeli suspects’ phones

Local official says nine of the 12 suspects accused of assaulting UK tourist are minors; DNA results to be processed by next week

Two of the 12 Israelis suspected of gang raping a British tourist cover their faces with their shirts as they arrive at the Famagusta courthouse in the town of Paralamni, Cyprus, on July 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)
Two of the 12 Israelis suspected of gang raping a British tourist cover their faces with their shirts as they arrive at the Famagusta courthouse in the town of Paralamni, Cyprus, on July 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Cypriot police officials said Friday local authorities have discovered videos documenting the alleged gang rape of a 19-year-old British tourist on the phones of the Israeli suspects, according to multiple media reports.

An unnamed official told the Ynet news site that nine of the 12 Israelis were minors, and that police on the east Mediterranean island nation were still investigating the “complex” case.

“Nine of the 12 are boys under the age of 18,” he said according to the site. “We have found videos documenting the act on their cell phones.”

“This is a complex investigation, we are examining whether the sex was consensual,” the police official told Ynet. He said the British tourist has remained in Cyprus to assist in the investigation.

On Thursday, a district court in Paralimni remanded the Israeli tourists in police custody for eight days pending the police investigation into the alleged assault.

All 12 Israelis – who arrived at the closed-door hearing with their faces covered — face potential charges of rape and conspiracy to commit rape. None have been charged.

Israeli Embassy official Yossef Wurmbrand confirmed the suspects’ ages ranged from 15 and a half to 18 and a half, and said the embassy was monitoring the case closely and stands ready to provide support to the suspects and their families.

The alleged rape occurred early Wednesday at the Pambos Napa Rocks Hotel in Cyprus’s popular resort town of Ayia Napa, where the young woman and the Israelis were staying separately.

Lawyer Ioannis Habaris, who represents four of the suspects, told The Associated Press that prosecutors informed the court that the British woman was raped but that it was unclear exactly how many of the suspects were implicated.

Habaris said there was “some evidence” the British woman was involved in a “relationship” with one of the suspects, but that as far as he knew, there was nothing to corroborate the allegation that the suspects had engaged in any sexual act with the victim.

“As far as I’m concerned and as far as the evidence presented I do not have any material or evidence which … corroborates this story,” said Habaris.

Tourist enjoy their drinks in a pub as other walk in southeast resort of Ayia Napa in the east Mediterranean island of Cyprus late Wednesday, July 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

Israeli lawyer Nir Yaslovitzh, who represents three of the suspects, said there was no evidence that the victim knew any of the suspects and that the 12 suspects came to the popular resort of Ayia Napa in three separate groups and didn’t know each other.

He said he suspected police investigators were trying to set a trap by implicating all 12 suspects.

“I think it’s a trick,” Yaslovitzh told The Associated Press. “They want to know how my clients will [react].

Yaslovitzh told Channel 12 that two of the suspects admit to engaging in sexual acts with the woman and that it was consensual. He added that all the other suspects insist they had no sexual contact with the woman.

According to media reports, the primary suspect and the victim had been chatting on Instagram for several days before the alleged attack. Channel 13 on Thursday published screenshots of purported conversations showing the suspect flirting with the woman and asking her to come to his hotel room.

According to the TV news channel, the woman told Cypriot police that she went to one of the suspect’s room at around midnight on Wednesday,

“I knew some of the boys and we did have a relationship, but when I got to the room around midnight, everyone was drunk, I remember everything was blurred,” she said, according to Channel 13.

A tourist near a sculpture that reads ‘I Love Ayia Napa’ after posing for photos in the southeast resort of Ayia Napa in the easter Mediterranean island of Cyprus late Wednesday, July 17, 2019. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias)

“I do remember that until about 1:00 a.m., the friends I did not know raped me, some wore a condom, and some didn’t. They hurt my whole body… one of them held me down, and then I saw at least 12 faces … for an hour or so, one after the other.

“After they let me go I fainted, and then I ran out of the room, met friends and they took me half-naked to the clinic,” she said.

The woman reportedly told police that some of the suspects filmed the assault on their phones. The Kan Public Broadcaster reported that DNA samples from all 12 suspects have been taken as part of the investigation. Kan said the results would be returned by the end of next week.

At Thursday’s hearing, prosecutors told the court the scratches and other injuries to the British woman’s lower body were deliberately inflicted. Prosecutors also said there was hotel security camera footage of events from the evening and police were still reviewing the material.

After the hearing, some of the suspects — again with their faces covered to disguise their identity — alleged to reporters that they had been beaten by Cypriot police.

Meanwhile, Israeli tourists who checked into the Pambos Napa Rocks Hotel on Friday told media outlets the 2-star hotel put them in the room where the alleged assault occurred, before it had been cleaned.

In this file photo taken on September 7, 2017, tourists sunbathe at the beach in the resort town of Ayia Napa in southeastern Cyprus. (Florian Choblet/AFP)

“We went on the balcony and some kids told us that we were staying in the room where the rape happened,” Noa Teller told Channel 13. “Later that night we found a condom under the bed, a bottle of alcohol that wasn’t ours, and a knife in the cupboard.”

Teller showed the trashed room to Israeli reporters at the hotel, who filmed and photographed the unmade beds, stains on the floor, handprints on the walls, and a used condom on the floor.

After the reporters arrived at the room, Cypriot police arrived at the Pambos Napa Rocks to collect the evidence that was left behind.

In response to the alleged assault, Ayia Napa Mayor Yiannis Karousos said that tougher policing was needed and that he would introduce legislation to clamp down on alcohol consumption and rowdiness in the popular resort town.

AP contributed to this report.

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