Trial begins of five Israeli men accused of gang raping British woman in Cyprus

The defendants are all aged 19 or 20 from the Israeli-Arab town of Majd al-Krum


This aerial view shows beachgoers at Nissi Beach in Cyprus' southern coastal resort town of Ayia Napa on August 1, 2023. (Photo by Etienne TORBEY / AFP) (Photo by ETIENNE TORBEY/AFP via Getty Images)

The trial of five Israeli men accused of gang raping a 20-year-old British woman in Cyprus has begun.

The defendants, all aged 19 or 20 from the Israeli Arab town of Majd al-Krum, are alleged to have carried out the attack in a hotel in Ayia Napa on September 3. All deny the charges.

Their lawyers said in court on Thursday that they not yet seen key evidence, including a DNA report, fingerprints and eyewitness testimony.

According to one of those lawyers, Yannis Habaris, the judge adjourned the trial until October 16 to give prosecution time to assemble this evidence.

The suspects will remain in custody in a detention centre until their next court appearance.

The alleged attack follows a widely reported 2019 case in which an 18-year-old British woman said that she had been gang raped by 12 Israeli men, also in Ayia Napa.

The alleged assailants, aged between 15 and 22, were arrested and questioned by police but subsequently released without charge and received a controversial welcome in Israel.

The victim, a university student from Derby, was then charged with making her story up after signing a statement retracting the allegations 10 days later which she alleged was the result of police pressure.

She was convicted of public mischief and received a four-month suspended sentence, meaning she spent five weeks in prison and almost six months unable to leave Cyprus.

In 2022, following widespread outrage, her conviction was overturned by the island's Supreme Court.

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