3 Jordanian Paralympic squad members out on bail

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By CASSANDRA VINOGRAD, Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Two Jordanian Paralympic power-lifters and a trainer were granted bail Wednesday after being accused of sexual assault in Northern Ireland.

The three men were arrested Monday northwest of Belfast where Jordan's squad is one of several national teams training before the Paralympic Games, which begin Aug. 29.

Police said a 14-year-old girl claimed that she posed for photographs with Omar Sami Qaradhi, 31, before he groped her between the legs in the town center of Antrim on Aug. 18.

That same day, a 16-year-old girl said she and a friend were walking along the river near the sports center where the men were training when they blocked their path. Police allege that one of the men pushed the girl towards Qaradhi, who wrapped his arm around her waist and tightened his grip before she ran away.

Qaradhi is facing three charges of sexual assault, two of which are against a child. He also is charged with one count of voyeurism after allegedly entering a women's changing room at the local sports center.

The two other men were identified as Motaz Al Junaidi, 45, and trainer Fasal Hammash, 35, who also appeared at Coleraine Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

Junaidi, 45, who won a power-lifting bronze medal at the last Paralympics in Beijing, is charged with sexual assault. Hammash is accused of inciting two girls to engage in sexual activity.

A representative of the Jordanian government, Rulan Samara, told the court that the king of Jordan has been inquiring about the case.

She said the men would be brought back to Northern Ireland for their next court appearance on Oct. 18 and would be in regular contact with Jordanian Embassy officials.

The Jordanian Olympic committee said it is treating the allegations with the "utmost seriousness" and that it has a zero tolerance policy for misconduct.

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