Relatives of Israeli rape suspect attack reporter at remand hearing in Greece
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Relatives of Israeli rape suspect attack reporter at remand hearing in Greece

Kan correspondent Vered Pelman shoved to floor and her phone is broken in incident outside Crete courtroom

Screen capture from video showing Kan public broadcaster reporter Vered Pelman, bottom, after having been allegedly shoved to the floor by family members of one of two Israeli rape suspects in Greece, September 3, 2019. (Twitter)
Screen capture from video showing Kan public broadcaster reporter Vered Pelman, bottom, after having been allegedly shoved to the floor by family members of one of two Israeli rape suspects in Greece, September 3, 2019. (Twitter)

Family members of one of the two Israelis accused of rape in Crete attacked an Israeli reporter outside the courtroom Tuesday, knocking her to the floor and breaking her mobile phone.

The two Israelis were arrested at the beginning of the week in Greece on suspicion of raping a German tourist.

Kan public broadcaster journalist Vered Pelman had filmed the family members as they headed to a remand hearing in the case but they turned on her, apparently pushing her to ground.

The aftermath of the clash was caught on another camera. Pelman could be seen picking herself up off the floor as her assailants disappeared down the corridor. She appeared distraught but physically unhurt in the incident.

Attorney Gila Lieber Golan, representing the two suspects, told Kan on Monday that the rape accusations against her clients are “a libel.”

Lieber Golan said “there is objective evidence that there is no basis for the suspicions and it will all become clear in court.”

On Monday Channel 12 reported that forensic tests from the alleged victim were sent for examination in the capital Athens. A Greek police source said it could take several weeks until the results are ready and the two suspects are likely to remain under arrest until that time.

The Foreign Ministry on Sunday confirmed that the two were arrested in Crete, but did not give further details.

The pair were arrested after the 19-year-old German woman filed a complaint with police, local reports said.

The woman reportedly said the Israelis, one 29 and the other 35, invited her to their hotel room for a drink, where they then allegedly raped her.

The incident comes after 12 Israelis were arrested in Cyprus in July for the suspected rape of a British tourist. All of the suspects were eventually released, after the woman retracted her complaint and reportedly admitted that the sex was consensual but that she felt humiliated because the Israelis filmed her during the sex acts without having received her consent to do so.

She has since been charged by Cypriot authorities for filing a false police complaint. On Thursday, the 19-year-old British woman was released on bail ahead of the start of her trial on October 2.

In a related development, Israeli police and state prosecutors said Tuesday they will not open an investigation over a video showing the British tourist having sex with the suspects, which was distributed on social media and pornographic sites, Channel 12 reported.

A British teenager, hooded, who accused seven Israelis of gang rape arrives at the Famagusta District Court in Paralimni in eastern Cyprus, to face charges of making a false allegation, July 29, 2019. (Iakovos Hatzistavrou/AFP)

The video, shot by some of the Israelis involved at the time, became a key aspect of the case. While on the one hand Cypriot police reportedly found the video’s contents contradicted the woman’s claim that she was forced to have sex with the suspects, there were allegations that by sharing it among themselves, and with others, those involved had broken Israeli laws forbidding the distribution of such footage without consent.

Prosecutors said in a statement that the tourist herself had not filed a complaint over the video and law enforcement in Cyprus had not asked for any action to be taken.

However, the state prosecution said that “it does not take lightly” the suspicion that by sharing the video those involved may have broken laws against distributing such material.

A police source told Channel 12 that even if an investigation was opened “it would be impossible to put anyone on trial.”

In order to do so, investigators would need to dedicate resources into questioning the British tourist in Cyprus as well as gathering all the phones of the suspects and then reviewing their messages to track down who had initially shared the film.

“In the end it is not clear we would reach whoever distributed the video. It is not an easy investigation, it is quite complicated and complex,” the source was quoted as saying.

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