Israeli youths plead not guilty in Cyprus gang rape trial

Conviction would carry a prison term.

Five Israeli tourists accused of gang-raping a young British woman in the Cyprus holiday resort of Ayia Napa pleaded not guilty to seven rape-related charges on Monday, police said.

The hearing had been adjourned earlier this month after the defence argued they had not received all the available evidence.

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At its resumption on Monday the five men, aged 19 to 20 and from the Arab-Israeli town of Majd al-Krum, appeared before Famagusta Criminal Court where they denied the charges.

They are accused of rape, sexual assault by penetration, sexual intercourse through violence, rape by compelling sexual penetration, indecent assault against a woman, sexual harassment, and abduction.

Conviction would carry a prison term.

Following the plea, their trials were set to begin December 18, 20 and 21, police said, but the court rejected a request by defence lawyers that the accused be released on bail.

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The five will remain in custody where they have been since September 4 over the alleged attack on a 20-year-old tourist at the island’s premier party spot.

Local media reported at the time of the arrests that the woman told police she was forcibly taken from a swimming pool party to a hotel room, where she was raped.

A similar case four years ago in Ayia Napa caused an uproar after the alleged victim was herself convicted of causing public mischief.

On that occasion, 12 Israelis were arrested after a British teenager reported being sexually attacked.

The Israelis were released after she retracted her statement, although she said police had pressured her into doing so.

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The 19-year-old received a four-month suspended jail term but the Supreme Court in 2022 quashed that conviction after defence lawyers argued there had been a miscarriage of justice.

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