The victim of an alleged gang rape by a group of Israelis in Cyprus has reportedly told local investigators that the suspects were drunk and beat her during the assault.
The 19-year-old British tourist said she became acquainted with several of the suspects and established a relationship with them. She arrived at their hotel room around midnight on the night of the incident, Channel 13 news reported on Thursday.
The woman said her memory of the event was hazy, but that around 1 a.m., she recalled being raped by a few of the suspects, some of whom she had not previously met. A few wore condoms, and others did not, she said, adding that they injured her all over her body during the attack and were inebriated.
The women had previously reportedly admitted that she became acquainted with one of the suspects in the days before the alleged rape and had sex with him on more than one occasion.
Her comments were not available in English.
The primary suspect and the victim had been chatting on Instagram for several days before the alleged attack, according to Channel 12, which included screenshots it said were from the conversation that showed the suspect flirting with the woman and asking her to come to his hotel room.
An acquaintance of the British woman said that she had previously accused men of a gang rape in the UK and received compensation, Channel 12 news said. The claim could not be immediately confirmed.
In response to the attack, the mayor of the southeastern resort town of Ayia Napa, where the alleged attack took place, said he would introduce legislation to clamp down on alcohol consumption and rowdiness in the city, according to local news site Omega Live.
The twelve suspects, some of them minors, were arrested in Cyprus on Wednesday on suspicion of gang rape and were brought for a remand hearing Thursday. The arrests came after the woman filed a complaint with police.
Israeli Embassy official Yossef Wurmbrand said the suspects’ ages ranged from 15 to 18 and that the embassy is monitoring the case closely and stands ready to provide support to the suspects and their families.
On Thursday, DNA samples were taken from the suspects and their phones were confiscated amid suspicion they had filmed the alleged attack. The results of the DNA testing are expected within a week, the Kan public broadcaster reported.
While nine of those involved deny ever having met their accuser, three have admitted they did have sex with her but that it was consensual, an attorney for the suspects told media. Local police acquired a video on Thursday showing one of the suspects who had denied knowing the woman having sex with her, Channel 12 news reported.
The 12 suspects were remanded in custody on Thursday for a further eight days.
The Famagusta district court heard that the British tourist had scratches on her lower extremities. According to prosecutors, it was assessed that the injuries were deliberately inflicted, the Ynet news site reported. The woman claims the suspects held her down by her hands and forced themselves on her, despite her shouting at them to stop, Kan reported.
Parents and attorneys flew out to Cyprus to be with the suspects. As they were brought to the courthouse, the suspects saw their parents and shouted to them that local police were “abusing us” and that they had been beaten by them, the Kan public broadcaster reported. Video showed the suspects being herded into a van by police with their faces covered by t-shirts, telling Israeli reporters that police had beaten them.
“Help us show the truth, help us show that we’re right,” one of the suspects said to reporters.
Hebrew-language media reported that some of the suspects were due to be inducted into the Israeli army in the coming days, including joining elite combat units.
“Out of the 12 arrested, there are three central suspects,” defense attorney Nir Yaslovitzh said to Channel 12 TV news. “Nine of the suspects claim ‘we aren’t involved’ and three claim ‘we had sex with her but it was consensual.’”
He said there is security camera footage of events from the evening when the alleged rape occurred and police are reviewing the material.
Attorney Yaniv Habari, also representing the detained Israelis, told Channel 13 news “we will make quiet efforts to release some of the youths. The Cypriot police understand that some of them are minors and the sensitivity of the issue.”
AP contributed to this report.