Ayia Napa: Twelve in court after 'British woman raped'

Twelve male Israeli tourists appear before Famagusta District Court in Paralimni, Cyprus Image copyright EPA
Image caption The group appeared in court on Thursday

Twelve Israelis have appeared in court in Cyprus over the alleged rape of a 19-year-old British woman.

The alleged attack was said to have taken place in a hotel in the popular holiday resort of Ayia Napa.

The suspects - who are aged between 16 and 20 except one, who is 15 - have not yet entered any pleas.

They have been remanded in custody and police have been given a further eight days to investigate.

The British woman contacted police in the early hours of Wednesday morning saying she had been raped in a hotel in Ayia Napa. Later that day police arrested the group of 12.

During the hearing on Thursday morning, judge Tonia Nicolaou confirmed the names of those arrested before reporters were told to leave the courtroom due to the age of one suspect, the 15-year-old boy.

The parents of several of those arrested flew from Israel to the court hearing in Paralimni, near to the Ayia Napa resort.

The suspects were led through the court building handcuffed to each other in pairs.

Some parents shouted messages of support and embraced them.

The mother of one of the suspects told the BBC her son had done nothing wrong.

An Israeli diplomat was present in court and said they would monitor but not interfere with the case.

The Foreign Office has said it is supporting a woman who was assaulted and says it is in contact with local police.

The town of Ayia Napa is a resort popular with young people.

More than 1.3 million British tourists visited Cyprus last year, according to Cyprus' statistical service.

Correction 19 July 2019: An earlier version of this story stated the group were all teenagers, but the age range has been changed following new information.

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