Twelve Teens Arrested Over Alleged Gang-Rape of Tourists Deny Allegations
Twelve Israeli teenagers have been detained on the island of Cyprus over the alleged rape of a 19-year-old British woman.
The young tourist filed a complaint with Ayia Napa police on Wednesday morning, saying she had been attacked at the popular holiday resort where she and the men were staying at separately.
Twelve youths -- aged between 15 and 18 -- are accused of gang-raping the woman in her hotel room on the south-eastern coast of the island.
Medical examiners said they found bruises and scratches on the 19-year-old woman's her body.
The suspects have been in custody for eight days pending further investigations, and have not yet entered any pleas.
Court proceedings went ahead behind closed doors due to the age of one suspects -- the 15-year-old boy -- and Cypriot law regarding rape cases.
According to the Jerusalem Post, the accused teenagers claim they were beaten by other British holidaymakers and had their noses broken by police as they made their way to a hotel following their arrest.
"The police hit us, they broke our noses, and the girl is lying,” the Israeli suspects told the outlet through a lawyer.
“Help us, get us out of here, you'll see we're right and that we're innocent."
The group pulled t-shirts over their faces as they travelled to and from the court.
Authorities stated the investigation was in its early stages and it is not yet clear how many people were involved in the incident.
More than 1.3m British tourists visited Cyprus last year, according to Cyprus' statistical service. The town of Ayia Napa is particularly popular with young people.