A British woman who was allegedly kidnapped and gang-raped by five Israeli men in a hotel room in Ayia Napa last year bravely walked into court yesterday “with her head held high” as she testified on the first day of a trial in Cyprus.
The tourist, who was 20 at the time of the alleged attack in September, was escorted by police to Famagusta criminal court, where she prepared to testify behind closed doors.
“He is being incredibly brave,” said a Paralimni police officer. reported Have said. “He came in with his head held high.”
His account, following a closely watched trial late last year, is expected to last several days as he bravely shares details of the alleged attack with authorities.
Five from the Israeli city of Majd al-Krum, all between 19 and 20 years old, are accused of attacking the young woman several times at the party venue after forcibly dragging her to a room, which they have denied.
Cypriot police cars transport Israeli tourists to Famagusta District Court to stand trial for allegedly gang-raping a British woman in Ayia Napa a month earlier on October 5, 2023.
Flags fly in front of the Famagusta district court in Paralimni on October 5, 2023
Women’s rights activists unfurl a banner in front of the Famagusta district court in Paralimni on October 5, 2023.
Court insiders said Sun The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is willing to testify until the end of the week “if necessary.”
The judges noted that they would also give her “as much time as necessary” to testify in court as she bravely recounts the events that allegedly took place at the Ferandia Gardens hotel last year.
It will be the first time that the victim comes face to face with her alleged attackers since she identified them in a police lineup last September.
The defendants have been brought to court from the island’s central prison, where they have been held since October.
They all initially pleaded not guilty to charges including rape, sexual assault by penetration, sexual intercourse by violence, rape by forcible sexual penetration and kidnapping.
Three later admitted to having had sexual relations with the woman, but described it as consensual.
The victim previously told police she was forcibly dragged into a hotel room and raped multiple times while on vacation at the resort.
She said she met the men at a hotel pool party on Sept. 3 before they took her back to a room where others were waiting.
A forensic search of the room where the attack allegedly occurred later found traces of blood on the floor and on the bed sheets.
The victim said the man tried to take off her swimsuit while she begged him to let her leave.
The other suspects were then said to have entered the room, where one of them had sex with her against her will.
Another is said to have forced her to perform oral sex, while two others held her down on the bed, she said.
She said a suspect also held her against a wall and raped her.
The 20-year-old said she managed to lock herself in the bathroom and began screaming for help.
The British woman said she was able to flee the room by pushing the suspects aside and join her friends, who accompanied her to report the incident to police, she said.
Officers quickly rounded up the suspects, detained them the day after the alleged attack and immediately charged them.
In pre-trial hearings, the court also heard that several members of staff had witnessed the aftermath of the alleged attack and would testify.
Staff are said to have seen the victim flee by climbing out of a window on the second floor of the three-star hotel.
The city of Maras (Varosha) in Famagusta, northern Cyprus, on January 17, 2024.
The police van carrying five Israelis accused of raping a British woman arrives at the Famagusta district court in Paralimni, Cyprus, Tuesday, September 12, 2023.
Yiannis Habaris, lawyer for three out of five Israelis, speaks on his cell phone outside the Famagusta district court in Paralimni, Cyprus, Tuesday, September 12, 2023.
At a previous hearing in October, the five Israeli men had pleaded not guilty to rape, sexual assault by penetration, sexual intercourse by violence, rape by forcible sexual penetration, indecent assault on a woman, sexual harassment and kidnapping.
They had appeared in the Famagusta courtroom, which was packed with family members who showed up to defend their innocence and show their support.
The five defendants remained serious during the proceedings, but could not contain their excitement as the hearing concluded.
Families rushed to hug the defendants before they were taken to their cells, and one of the men on trial broke down crying as he hugged his mother.