Members of the Jordanian Paralympics team, training in Northern Ireland, have appeared in court on charges of sexual assault and voyeurism. The King of Jordan has promised to bring the men back before the court after they were bailed for $7,900 (£5,500) each.
Two wheelchair-using power lifters, one a bronze medal winner at the Beijing Games, and a trainer have been accused of a series of charges following complaints by two girls and two women in Antrim.
The Jordanian Paralympic team have been training in Antrim, 22 miles outside Belfast. The three accused were detained by police on Monday.
They are to return to court on 18th October. Until then they will have to make weekly contact with the Jordanian embassy in London, during the Paralympic Games which start next week.
A representative of Jordan’s King, Rulan Samara, told the Coleraine court, “His majesty the King of Jordan (King Abdullah the Second) was inquiring about the matter and was asking about all the details.”
She offered the King’s surety that the accused men would be brought back to court in Northern Ireland after the games, according to Sky News reports.
The group’s lawyer, Tony Cahir, said Jordan was concerned and embarrassed by the allegations. The Jordanian Olympic and Paralympic committees both expressed regret at the charges and said they had confidence the defendants would get a fair hearing.
Powerlifter Omar Sami Qaradhi (31), who lives in Barbados, faces three charges of sexual assault. Two of these are against a child. He is also charged with voyeurism having allegedly entered the women’s changing room at the Antrim Forum leisure center.
A 14-year-old girl told police that on 18th August she posed for a photograph with Qaradhi before he groped her in Antrim town center.
Another girl, aged 16, told police that while walking near the Antrim Forum, her path was obstructed by the three accused. Police said the girl was pushed toward Qaradhi who put his arm around her waist. She escaped and ran away.
Qaradhi’s lawyer said his client has not had legs since birth and was incapable of sexual gratification.
The Jordanian trainer Faisal Hammash (35) is accused of inciting two girls to engage in sexual activity.
Cahir said Hammash was merely photographing the girls.
Powerlifter Motaz Al Junaidi (45) who won bronze at the last Paralympics in Beijing, is accused of sexual assault.