Israelis held over alleged rape freed as British accuser is arrested

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19-year-old UK tourist to appear in Cypriot court on suspicion of making false complaint

Police in Cyprus have released seven Israeli tourists from detention and said the British teenager who accused them of gang rape would face court on suspicion of making a false allegation.

“All seven Israelis have been released, since 10am,” a police spokesman said. “The young woman will be taken to court tomorrow morning.”

Earlier, a police source said the British teenager had been arrested on “charges of giving a false statement over an imaginary offence”.

The 19-year-old woman had alleged that 12 Israelis gang raped her at the hotel where she was staying in the resort of Ayia Napa on 17 July. The young Israelis were remanded in custody the next day. But hours before their second appearance in court, five were released and sent home late on Thursday.

The remaining seven had their remand order renewed on Friday for another six days. None had been charged, and both hearings took place behind closed doors because some of the suspects were minors.

Yaniv Habari, a Cyprus-based Israeli lawyer who represented one of the suspects, said: “The complainant apparently changed her version, and based on that the investigator decided to release the seven.”

Ayia Napa is a magnet for younger tourists attracted by its party reputation and white sand beaches. Britain is the island’s biggest tourist market, with around 1.3 million UK citizens travelling to Cyprus every year. It is also popular with Israeli tourists.

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