Jordanian Paralympic members withdrawn after sex offence allegations

Three members of the Jordanian Paralympic squad charged with sex offences will not be taking part in the Games, organisers have confirmed.

Locog said the Jordanian Paralympic Committee had withdrawn the men from their team for London 2012.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 the North, 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 have been accused of a series of charges, including sexual assault and voyeurism following complaints by two girls and two women in Antrim.

They are due back in court on October 18.

The three were released on combined bail and sureties of £5,500 (€6,981) 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 22 miles 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 the North by her government and offered a surety.

The Jordanian delegation arrived in the North on August 8. 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.


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