Jordan withdraws Paralympians
Three members of the Jordanian Paralympic squad charged with sex offences will not be taking part in the Games, organisers have confirmed.
Organising committee Locog said the Jordanian Paralympic Committee had withdrawn the men from their team for London 2012.
The three, who appeared in court yesterday accused of committing a string of offences while in pre-Games training in Northern Ireland, are returning to Jordan.
“We have been informed by the Jordanian National Paralympic Committee that they will not be entering the athletes in question into the London 2012 Paralympic Games,” said a Locog spokeswoman.
“The athletes have returned to Jordan.”
The men are due back in court in Northern Ireland on October 18th.
Omar Sami Qaradhi, Faisal Hammash and Motaz Al Junaidi, all members of the Jordanian power-lifting squad, have been accused of a series of charges, including sexual assault and voyeurism, following complaints by two girls and two women in Antrim.
The three were released on combined bail and sureties of £5,500 each after appearing at Coleraine Magistrates’ Court in Co Derry.
They have to make weekly contact with the Jordanian embassy in London before their next appearance in court.
The Jordanian team has been training in Antrim, about 35km from Belfast, in advance of the Paralympic Games starting next week.
The three were detained on Monday for questioning by detectives from the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
The court heard yesterday that the king of Jordan is taking a personal interest in the case.
A representative of the Jordanian government, counsellor Rulan Samara from the London embassy, told the court: “His majesty the king of Jordan (King Abdullah the Second) was inquiring about the matter and was asking about all the details.”
Supporting a bail application, she promised that the accused would be brought back for future court appearances in Northern Ireland by her government and offered a surety.
Wheelchair user Omar Sami Qaradhi (31) faces three charges of sexual assault, two against a child, and one of voyeurism after allegedly entering a women’s changing room at the Antrim Forum leisure centre.
Faisal Hammash (35) is accused of inciting two girls to engage in sexual activity.
Power lifter Motaz Al Junaidi (45) who is also a wheelchair user, is accused of sexual assault.
The Jordanian delegation arrived in Northern Ireland on August 8th. The alleged offences took place between last Thursday and Monday.
The Jordanian Olympic and Paralympic committees and the Jordanian embassy in London have all expressed regret at the charges and said they had confidence the defendants would get a fair hearing.