Cyprus Police Release 5 of the Israeli Suspects in Gang Rape of U.K. Tourist

Nicosia court ruled last week to extend the suspects' remand until Friday, but it is unknown as to whether other suspects will be released

The Cyprus hotel room
Noa Shpigel

Five of the 12 suspects in the gang rape of a British tourist in Cyprus were released from detention by Cypriot police on Thursday. It is still unknown whether additional suspects will be released.

The Nicosia court ruled last week that the suspects' remand will be extended until Friday in order for the police to conclude their investigation.

Lawyer Yaniv Habari, who is representing three of the suspects, said the police have a large amount of DNA evidence from the 19-year-old British tourist's hotel room, where the alleged rape took place. Police found used condoms in the room, and the hotel management gave the room to other guests without cleaning it.

Israeli tourists who arrived at the hotel on Wednesday reported that they found condoms under the bed, handprints on the wall and vodka bottles that still had Ben-Gurion Airport duty free tags on them. They also noted that the hotel refused to give them another room, instead directing them to the airline that flew them to Cyprus.

Of the 12 suspects, 11 arrived in three groups – one from Jerusalem, one from the Haifa region and a third form Afula. The twelfth suspect had immigrated to Cyprus. They were detained in different parts of the country, with five in the capitol of Nicosia, three in Limassol, two in Larnaca and two more in Ayia Napa. The suspects are represented by several groups of attorneys, who have been replaced a few times.

According to a report released by the Famagusta police last week, only three of the suspects denied during their interrogation that they were present at the scene during the assault.

The main suspect, the police said, disregarded the complainant's pleas to stop during the assault, and became violent. The suspect then called his friends into the room, and about 12 people entered and watched. Some joined in the assault, and a few filmed it on their phones.

The complainant managed to escape the room, still naked, and run away. She was able to find two of her friends and explain what she had endured. They took her to a private clinic within the hotel and called the authorities. A medical examiner found fresh abrasions on the woman's lower limbs.