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British teen remanded in Cyprus custody over rape claim

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This picture taken on July 30, 2019 shows a British teenager who accused seven Israelis of gang rape leaving the Famagusta District Court in Paralimni in eastern Cyprus. – Initially, the 19-year-old woman had alleged that 12 Israelis gang raped her at the hotel where she was staying in the popular Ayia Napa resort on July 17. The young Israeli tourists were remanded in custody the next day. But hours before their second appearance in court five of them were released and sent home late the next day. (Photo by Matthieu CLAVEL / AFP)

A British teenager was remanded in custody in Cyprus on Tuesday after she was arrested last week on suspicion of falsely accusing 12 Israeli tourists of gang rape.

The 19-year-old faces “public mischief” charges that come with a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of around 1,700 euros.

The young woman, who was not named, stood grim-faced during the session at the Famagusta District Court in Paralimni in southeast Cyprus without speaking. Her mother was also present.

She covered her face with the hood of her sweatshirt as she left the court and was put into a police van.

Her lawyer Andreas Pittadjis said she is expected to enter a plea when she appears again on August 7.

He asked the court for time to “collect videotapes and statements” gathered by the Cypriot police during the investigation.

Initially, the teenager had alleged that 12 Israelis raped her at the hotel where she was staying in the popular resort of Ayia Napa on July 17.

The tourists aged 15 to 18 were released last week after the woman was arrested on suspicion of “making a false statement about an imaginary crime”, according to Cyprus police.

Ayia Napa is a magnet for younger tourists attracted by its reputation as an all-out party town and for its white-sand beaches.

Britain is the island’s biggest tourist market with around 1.3 million of its citizens travelling to Cyprus every year while nearby Israel is also becoming a key source of visitors.


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