August 22, 2012 / 9:36 PM / in 5 years

UPDATE 1-Jordan paralympic men face sex charges in N.Ireland

2 Min Read

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DUBLIN, Aug 22 (Reuters) - Three members of Jordan's paralympic squad were charged with sex offences in Northern Ireland on Wednesday and released on bail after their embassy promised they would return to court.

The two wheelchair-bound power lifters and a trainer were arrested on Monday evening and accused of sexual offences involving two women and two underage girls, the court heard.

"The embassy in London wishes to reassure the courts of its continued cooperation and maintains utmost respect for the due process of the law," the Jordanian embassy in London said in a statement.

King Abdullah has taken a personal interest in the case, a representative of the embassy said during the proceedings in Coleraine, County Londonderry.

Weight lifter Omar Sami Qaradhi was charged with three counts of sexual assault and one of voyeurism on Wednesday. Two of the alleged assaults were against children.

His colleague Motaz Al-Junad faced one sexual assault charge. Trainer Faisal Hammash was charged with two counts of causing a child to engage in sexual acts. The alleged offences took place between Aug. 16 and Aug. 20, the court was told.

The 19-strong Jordanian squad was one of several from the Middle East and Africa training in Northern Ireland's Antrim Forum sports centre ahead of the London games, which are due to start on Aug. 29.

The team was due to leave for London on Wednesday but it was not clear whether the three accused would join them.

The Jordanian embassy representative told the court her country would provide guarantees the men would return from bail to face trial. (Reporting by Ian Graham; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Robin Pomeroy)

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