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British teen remanded in Cyprus custody over rape claim

British teen remanded in Cyprus custody over rape claim

Israeli tourists, arrested over the alleged rape of a British tourist in the resort town of Ayia Napa, arrive to appear before a magistrate for a remand hearing in the Famagusta courthouse in Paralimni, Cyprus on Jul 18, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Yiannis Kourtoglou)

PARALIMNI: A British teenager was remanded in custody in Cyprus on Tuesday (Jul 30) 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.

READ: 12 Israeli youths held in Cyprus over alleged rape of British tourist

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 Aug 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 Jul 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.

Source: AFP/ic

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