Seven Israeli teenagers were freed from custody in Cyprus on Sunday after a 19-year-old British woman admitted her report of being raped by a dozen people was untrue, a lawyer and Cypriot officials said.
A lawyer for two of the Israelis said the woman was arrested and faces a public nuisance charge. Investigators concluded the accuser’s allegations “didn’t stand to reason,” lawyer Yiannis Habaris said.
A law enforcement official told The Associated Press the woman voluntarily recanted during questioning just after midnight, saying there had been sexual contact with the suspects but she wasn’t raped.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to discuss details of the case.
The state-run Cyprus News Agency reported that the woman allegedly told investigators she filed a rape report because she was “angry and insulted” that a number of the Israelis allegedly recorded video of her having sex with some of them.
As the Israeli teens were released from police district headquarters in the town of Paralimni hours later, jubilant relatives were there to greet them with hugs and kisses. Some of the youths carried suitcases and got into waiting cars that drove them away.
Cypriot authorities arrested 12 Israeli teenagers on July 18 following the woman’s report of being raped by a dozen individuals at a hotel in the popular tourist resort of Ayia Napa where she and the Israelis were staying.
Five were released on Thursday after investigators found no evidence implicating them.
Investigators told a Paralimni court during a custody hearing Friday that the British woman was in a relationship with one of the seven suspects and had sexual contact with several of the other six over several days, Mr Habaris said earlier.
The 12 Israelis had come to Cyprus in three separate groups, some for a vacation before being inducted into the army, and didn’t know each other, according to Nir Yaslovitzh, an Israeli lawyer representing three of the dozen suspects.
Cypriot police provided DNA samples to Israeli authorities to locate three other individuals as potential suspects, but that assistance is no longer necessary since the case collapsed, Mr Habaris said.