Last week, 12 Israeli suspects were arrested for the alleged gang rape of a 19-year-old British tourist in the popular Cyprian resort of Ayia Napa.
On Sunday, the police completed the questioning of three of those involved in the case — an interrogation that lasted seven and a half hours. All those questioned denied the rape charges, claiming the sex was consensual. The remaining individuals were scheduled to be interrogated this week.
The dozen suspects may now face further legal accusations after investigators recommended adding the charge of conspiracy to "commit a crime" along to the rape charges.
Nir Yaslovitzh, an Israeli attorney representing three of the suspects, said that a "conspiracy" charge could result in charges against some of the men, even if there is no evidence to prove they engaged in sex with the woman. This means anyone who witnessed the event may be charged.
The suspects are currently being charged with "forcibly restraining the British woman and raping her – until she managed to flee from the room without her clothes," according to Haaretz. The woman then met with two friends, who helped her file a complaint to local police officers.
The punishment for rape in Cyprus is 10 to 12 years in prison.
Some media reports said the woman had a previous relationship with at least one of the suspects. On the night of the alleged rape, she was forcibly held down as more than one person assaulted her.
Since the news began circulating, one Israeli journalist has come under fire for mocking the British victim.
"Ah, she was used to two or three [men], and then suddenly there are 12, that's the breaking point?" Roni Daniel said.
Daniel later issued an apology on social media.
As the investigations continue, some of the Israeli suspects demanded a "confrontation" with the British victim — a common practice in police investigations in Israel. However, police in Cyprus denied this request as such a technique is not used in local investigations.
The top police investigator in the case said the versions of events as told by the central suspects are similar to each other. He suspects they coordinated their statements prior to the arrest.
The woman will be asked to identify the suspects in a police lineup ahead of a court hearing next week. That, along with the DNA samples and cellphone footage from the alleged assault, will determine the verdict on the suspects involved.