Interpol Joins Investigation of Cyprus Gang Rape as Police Hunt for Three More Suspects

Cypriot police are searching for additional, unidentified suspects whose DNA was found at the scene

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Suspects cover their faces with their shirts as they arrive at the Famagusta courthouse in Paralamni, Cyprus, Friday, July 26, 2019.
Suspects cover their faces with their shirts as they arrive at the Famagusta courthouse in Paralamni, Cyprus, Friday, July 26, 2019.Credit: Petros Karadjias,AP

Interpol has joined the investigation into the gang rape case of a 19-year-old British tourist in the resort town of Ayia Napa in Cyprus, the Cypriot police said in a report Friday.

The police are also searching for an additional three suspects; their DNA was found at the scene but they were not arrested with the 12 Israelis detained for suspected involvement in the case, five of whom have been released.

The police say they do not know the identities of the three additional suspects, though samples taken from the complainant's hotel room match DNA taken from two of the detained Israelis, as well as that of an additional person whose identity is not yet known.

DNA samples taken from the woman's pants and underwear match that of an additional suspect who also has not yet been identified, the police say, adding that DNA from one of the suspects, who denied during interrogations that he had sex with the woman, was found on her body.

Additional DNA tests are expected to conclude in the coming days; the police have collected 36 testimonies and are expected to collect 20 more, including additional testimony from the complainant herself. The 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 Wednesday said 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 added that the hotel refused to give them another room, instead directing them to the airline that flew them to Cyprus.

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

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

The complainant managed to flee the room, still naked, find two of her friends and tell them what happened. They took her to a private clinic at the hotel and called the authorities. A medical examiner found fresh abrasions on the woman's legs.  

Also Friday, a Cypriot court extended the detention of seven of the 12 Israelis who were arrested in the case. On Thursday, five of the 12 were released.

Of the 12 suspects, 11 arrived in three groups – one from Jerusalem, one from the Haifa region and one from Afula in the north. The 12th suspect had immigrated to Cyprus.

The suspects were detained in different parts of the country, with five in the capitol of Nicosia, three in Limassol, two in Larnaca and two in Ayia Napa. The suspects are represented by several groups of attorneys, who have been replaced a few times.