Israeli teens arrested in Cyprus gang rape case return to Israel

5 Israeli youths freed after week under arrest in connection with sexual assault of British woman begin to return to Israel.

Tags: Rape Cyprus
David Rosenberg ,

Two of the suspects taken into custody in Cyprus
Two of the suspects taken into custody in Cyprus

At least three Israeli teenagers arrested last week in Cyprus following accusations of gang rape has returned to Israel after being released with four other youths arrested in the case.

On Thursday, authorities in Cyprus freed five of the 12 Israeli teenagers arrested following the alleged gang rape of a 19-year-old British woman in the resort town of Ayia Napa.

The five were released after DNA testing showed they were not tied to the scene of the alleged sexual assault.

The young woman claimed that she was attacked in a hotel room by a number of drunken Israeli teens she had met earlier. Several of the teens sexually assaulted her, she claims, while others looked on.

Twelve Israeli teens, ranging in age from 15 to 19, were arrested in the case.

Three of the suspects admit to have relations with the woman, but insist the encounters were consensual.

Others, however, denied taking part in the alleged sexual assaults or even being present in the hotel room at the time.

“I don’t know what they did, if they did anything” one of the released teens said. “I don’t know anything.”

Later, one of the five teens released by Cypriot authorities was permitted to return home, landing in Israel late Thursday night.

“We’re going home now to put this all behind us,” the freed teen’s father said as the family rushed the youth through the welcoming hall in Ben Gurion International Airport.

Earlier on Thursday, Nir Yaslovitz, one of the attorneys representing some of the suspects, touted the release of five of the teens that day as the “first sign of cracks appearing in the complainant’s story.”

On Friday, Maariv reported that at least two more of the five teens released had returned to Israel.

“It was a nightmare,” one of the returning teens said. “I will never, ever go back to Cyprus. I just want to go home.”

Another of the freed teens who returned to Israel said that he was saved from further investigation only by a photograph taken together with his girlfriend at the time of the alleged gang rape, providing him with a clear alibi.

“Thanks to the selfie by girlfriend took that night I was saved, since it was a clear alibi that I was with her, and not with the young British woman.”

The remaining seven Israelis in custody in Cyprus will be brought before a court for an extension of their arrest Friday.