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Two Paralympians, trainer out of London games over sex assault charges

From Peter Taggart, for CNN
updated 12:34 PM EDT, Tue August 28, 2012
Jordan's King Abdullah was
Jordan's King Abdullah was "concerned" by the allegations, according to an official
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Jordan's Paralympic Committee says it has "zero tolerance on any misconduct"
  • Two powerlifters who use wheelchairs and a trainer have been released on bail
  • The men were in Northern Ireland training ahead of the Paralympic Games

Coleraine, Northern Ireland (CNN) -- Two members of Jordan's paralympic team who use wheelchairs and a trainer accused of sexual assault won't be competing in the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

The three members of the Jordanian team were arrested after two girls and two women in Northern Ireland filed complaints alleging sexual assault by the men, police said. The three have been released on bail in Northern Ireland after an embassy official promised they would be returned to face sexual assault charges.

The two athletes and the trainer, meanwhile, were withdrawn from competition and have returned to Jordan, according to a statement released by the International Paralympic Committee.

The Jordanian Paralympic Committee's president and board said it "would be inappropriate" for the athletes to compete in the games, which begin next week.

A sneak peek inside the Paralympic Park

"We have a zero tolerance on any misconduct and will continue to work closely with the Northern Ireland authorities to assist in their investigation. However, our focus is now preparing the remaining members of the team for competition, and we look forward to taking part in what promises to be a truly magnificent sporting event."

The men, who were training at a sports complex in Antrim, 35 kilometers (22 miles) northwest of Belfast, are accused of assaulting the women and girls over a four-day period, beginning on August 16, police said. The men have denied the charges.

Powerlifter Omar Sami Qaradhi, 31, has been charged with two counts of sexual activity with a child, one count of sexual assault against a woman and one count of voyeurism, according to charges read during a hearing in Coleraine, County Londonderry.

Powerlifter Motaz al-Juneidi, 45, was charged with sexual assault against a woman.

Trainer Faisal Hammash, 35, was charged with two counts of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

A Jordanian embassy official said during the hearing that King Abdullah had been inquiring about the matter. She promised the men would return to Northern Ireland for future court appearances.

A senior Jordanian government official denied reports that the King had personally intervened in the case, although the official said the monarch was "concerned" by the allegations.

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