AMMAN — Three members of the Jordanian Paralympic team were arrested in Northern Ireland earlier this week and charged with sexual assault, including against minors, a government official said on Tuesday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the government was following up on the case with UK authorities through the Jordanian embassy in London. He refused to elaborate.
The Jordan Olympic Committee issued a statement to the media expressing regret over the incident and saying it was cooperating with the UK authorities in their investigation.
“The Jordan Olympic Committee (JOC) deeply regrets hearing of these charges and treats allegations of this nature with the utmost seriousness because we have a zero tolerance [policy] on any misconduct,” the statement said.
“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,” the committee added.
Jordan’s squad is one of several national teams training in a sports centre in Antrim, northwest of Belfast, ahead of the Paralympic Games that start on August 29 and end on September 9.
The Associated Press quoted the Northern Irish police as saying that the three men were arrested for questioning in the Antrim area on Monday “in relation to allegations of indecent assault”. They did not identify the men by name or further explain the circumstances.
Police said later Tuesday that one of the men, a 23-year-old, was charged with two counts of sexual activity with a child, one count of sexual assault on a woman and voyeurism.
A second man, aged 35, was charged with two counts of sexual activity with a child, and the third, aged 36, was charged with one count of sexual assault on a woman.
AP later identified the suspects as two wheelchair-using power-lifters — one a bronze medal winner at the 2008 Beijing Games — and a trainer, who appeared at Coleraine Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.
All three were released on bail after a representative of the Jordanian government promised to bring them back to court on October 18.
A Jordanian sports official confirmed to AP that three team members had been arrested, but declined to provide any details.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to comment while Northern Irish police were still investigating.
Jordan sent a 19-strong delegation to the Paralympics.
The organising committee of the London Games declined to comment, AP said, because the case was under police investigation.