Trial in Cyprus for 5 Israelis accused of gang raping a British woman is to start Oct. 5

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) —


The trial of five Israelis accused of gang raping a British woman in a Cyprus hotel room is scheduled for next month, when they will enter pleas to charges including rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment and abduction, Cypriot police said Monday.

Police said the trial will begin Oct. 5. Defense lawyers objected to a prosecution request for the suspects to remain in custody until then. A Famagusta District court judge is to rule Tuesday on whether to keep the suspects in detention or release them.

Yannis Habaris, a lawyer representing three of the suspects, said there are “many contradictory” points which “undermine the veracity of the claims” in the alleged victim's statement to police.

Habaris said his clients will plead not guilty to the charges because “as things now stand, we don't think that any crime has been committed."

Lawyers representing the other two suspects didn't immediately respond to attempts for comment.

A police investigator said last week that the 20-year-old British woman picked the five Israelis — three aged 19 and two aged 20 -- out of a lineup as having raped her during a hotel pool party in the coastal resort town of Ayia Napa.

The woman told police that one of the five men had forcibly taken her to his room after grabbing her hand while she was partying with friends around the pool on Sept. 3.

She said the man tried to remove her bathing suit while she pleaded with him to let her leave. The other suspects then entered the room and one had intercourse with her against her will and another forced her to perform oral sex, while two others held her down on the bed, she said.

She said one suspect also held her against a wall and had intercourse with her.

She said she managed to lock herself in the bathroom and began shouting for help. She was able to flee the room by pushing the suspects aside and rejoined her friends, who went with her to report the incident to police, she said.

Ayia Napa is popular among young tourists from across Europe who enjoy its nightclubs, bars, white-sand beaches and lively nightlife.