British teenager tells court she 'couldn't breathe' during alleged Cyprus gang-rape by Israeli tourists

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British teenager tells court she 'couldn't breathe' during alleged Cyprus gang-rape by Israeli touristsA British teenager has for the first time described in explicit detail how she was allegedly gang-raped by a group of Israeli tourists in Cyprus – an assault that police and prosecutors say she invented. The young woman says she was raped by the Israelis in a hotel room in the beach resort of Ayia Napa in July. Two weeks later, after an eight-hour questioning by Cypriot police without a lawyer, she signed a retraction statement in which she said she concocted the story. Twelve Israeli men who had been arrested for the alleged attack were immediately released and allowed to fly home. She is on trial in a court room in Paralimni, a town a few miles from Ayia Napa, for causing public mischief with the allegedly false claim and faces up to a year in prison if found guilty. Tourists in the main square of Ayia Napa Credit: AFP/Getty Her team of British and Cypriot lawyers say she signed the retraction under duress at a time when she was suffering from panic attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder. She felt frightened and intimidated after police allegedly threatened to arrest her friends, they say. The defence insists the gang rape took place and that the 19-year-old should be found not guilty. As the trial nears its end, the teenager was given the choice of remaining silent during Tuesday’s hearing, presenting a written statement to the court or undergoing cross-examination by the prosecution. She chose the latter, saying she has nothing to hide and wants the truth of the alleged rape known. Dressed in black trousers and a green jumper and speaking on the witness stand, the young woman blinked back tears as she described being pinned down and raped multiple times. She said that she had initially agreed to have sex with one of the Israelis, a 21-year-old named Sam whom she had met in Ayia Napa, where she was embarking on a working holiday. But his friends then allegedly barged into the room and joined in without her consent. “I told them they had to go. Sam told me to lie on the bed and … put his knees on my shoulders.  "There was a lot of shouting in Hebrew. I couldn't breathe. I tried to throw my head about and his friends were coming in all shouting and jeering.  "I tried to cross my legs. I was trying to throw my arms about. I don't know how many of them raped me. I couldn't see.” The Israelis were shouting and arguing in Hebrew, she told the court. "Sam still had his knees of my shoulders. I was gasping for air. I managed to get away and I was shouting and screaming. I was in an absolute state. I ran downstairs out of the room.” She fled the hotel and went to a clinic, where she was examined by doctors. The police were then called. "I was so scared that I passed out twice. I couldn't sit upright in the police car." The court has previously heard from a witness that the Israeli teenagers had targeted the teenager, bragging that they were going to “do orgies” with her. Following her retraction, she was jailed for more than a month in a prison in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus. She was released on bail at the end of August but had her passport confiscated and has had to remain on the island ever since. The trial was adjourned until Friday.


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