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British woman held over ‘false’ Cyprus rape claim must wait for court hearing

Twelve initial suspects who were arrested after the rape claim was made have all been released.

Police officers escort a 19-year-old British woman, second from right, out of Famagusta court (Petros Karadjias/AP)
Police officers escort a 19-year-old British woman, second from right, out of Famagusta court (Petros Karadjias/AP)

A Cyprus court has postponed a custody hearing for a 19-year-old British woman, who faces a public nuisance charge after she admitted that her accusation that 12 Israeli teenagers raped her at a popular resort town was untrue.

Paralimni court judge Tonia Antoniou ordered the one-day postponement on Monday because the woman’s lawyer is abroad.

A lawyer standing in for the Briton’s lawyer said more time is needed to pore through the police’s extensive probe into the case.

The woman will remain in police custody until Tuesday’s court appearance because she poses a flight risk, the state-run Cyprus News Agency reported.

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The court heard the British suspect could be a flight risk (Petros Karadjias/AP)

A throng of foreign and local journalists surrounded the woman who covered her face with a sweater from the moment she stepped out of the police vehicle that brought her to the courthouse.

Cyprus police on Sunday freed the remaining seven of 12 Israeli suspects who were initially arrested on July 17 after the British woman made the rape allegation against them.

Five Israelis had been released three days earlier after no evidence was found implicating them in the case.

Police have said the woman voluntarily recanted her rape allegation during questioning.

While admitting there had been sexual contact with the suspects, she now said she was not raped.

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An Israeli teenager is embraced by relatives after being released from Famagusta police headquarters (Petros Karadjias/AP)

Lawyers representing the Israelis who ranged in age from 15 to 18 said they plan to sue the young woman on behalf of those she accused.

The woman alleged she was raped at the hotel where she and the dozen Israelis were staying.

The Israelis’ defence lawyers had said the woman was also working at the hotel and that she was in a relationship with one Israeli and had consensual sexual contact with several overs over a period of several days.

The Cyprus News Agency reported that the woman allegedly told investigators she filed the rape report because she was “angry and insulted” that some of the Israelis allegedly recorded video of her having sex with a number of them.

PA

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