King of Jordan intervenes after London 2012 Paralympians appear in court on sex charges
Wednesday, 22 August 2012
August 22 - The King of Jordan has dramatically intervened in the controversy caused by the arrest of three members of the country's Paralympic squad in Northern Ireland ahead of London 2012.
Two wheelchair powerlifters and a trainer are facing a variety of sexual assault charges and appeared in Coleraine Magistrates' Court today.
The trio are Beijing 2008 bronze medal winning powerlifter Motaz Al-Junadi, fellow powerlifter Omar Sami Qaradhi and their trainer Faisal Hammash.
The Jordanian administration has now pledged to bring them back before the court.
King Abdullah II has close links with the Olympic Movement as his brother, Prince Faisal, and sister, Princess Haya, are both members of the International Olympic Committee.
They are both expected to travel to London to attend the Paralympic Games.
The country's Olympic and Paralympic Committees have also placed their faith in the British justice system and said they will cooperate to help justice be reached.
In a statement, the Jordanian Olympic Committee (JOC) said that it "deeply regrets hearing of these charges and treats allegations of this nature with the utmost seriousness because we have a zero tolerance on any misconduct.
"The JOC has full confidence in the British justice system and will remain in close contact with the Jordan Paralympic Committee which has been cooperating with the Northern Irish authorities in their investigation.
"We are following developments closely through the Jordan Embassy in the UK which is providing consular support to the delegation on the ground."
Echoing those comments, the Jordan Paralympic Committee added that the "President and Board of the Jordan Paralympic Committee (JPC) wish to convey their deep sense of regret and shock at the charges that have been lodged against three members of the Jordanian Paralympic team.
"The JPC is confident that the court will act promptly and fairly in adjudicating the case.
"At the same time the JPC fully appreciates the severity of the charges and in no way wishes to belittle the matter in any way, shape or form.
"The JPC denounces in the strongest terms possible all types of harassment and abuse and wishes to reaffirm that this type of abhorrent behaviour is totally and utterly unacceptable and is to be condemned at all times."
The Jordanian team has been training in Antrim, where the alleged assaults took place, along with a number of other countries, such as Qatar, Kuwait and Oman.
The team was due to leave Northern Ireland today, with just a week to go until the Paralympic Games get underway in London.
Jordan has sent 19 athletes and coaches to the Games, hoping to build on the four medals they won in Beijing four years ago.
August 2012: Jordan Paralympic trio held over sexual assault charges