Sat. Feb 24th, 2024

NICOSIA: Five Israelis accused of gang raping a British woman in a Cyprus hotel room pleaded not guilty on Monday to all charges against them, including rape, sexual assault and abduction, an official said.
The Famagusta District criminal court in Cyprus scheduled the trial to resume on Dec. 18, when police investigators will testify for the prosecution.
Three of the five defendants appeared at Monday’s hearing with one lawyer instead of the two who had previously represented them, the official said on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak about the case publicly.
The other two defendants changed attorneys earlier this month.
The defendants entered their pleas after the prosecution handed their lawyers key material including DNA tests, fingerprints and witness testimony.
A police investigator said last month that the 20-year-old British woman picked the five Israelis – three aged 19 and two aged 20 – out of a lineup as having raped her during a hotel pool party in the coastal resort town of Ayia Napa.
The woman told police that one of the five men had forcibly taken her to his room after grabbing her hand while she was partying with friends around the pool on Sept. 3.
She said the man tried to remove her bathing suit while she pleaded with him to let her leave. The other suspects then entered the room and one had intercourse with her against her will and another forced her to perform oral sex, while two others held her down on the bed, she said.
She said one suspect also held her against a wall and had intercourse with her.
She said she managed to lock herself in the bathroom and began shouting for help. She was able to flee the room by pushing the suspects aside and rejoined her friends, who went with her to report the incident to police, she said.
Ayia Napa is popular among young tourists from across Europe who enjoy its nightclubs, bars, white-sand beaches and lively nightlife.

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