Head of Syria´s Olympic Committee Refused Visa to London (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Elad Benari, Canada 06/23/12)
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The head of the Syrian Olympic Committee, General Mowaffak Joumaa,
has been refused a visa to travel to London for this summer’s games,
the BBC reported on Friday.
The reason for the refusal is links to President Bashar al-Assad´s
regime, whose violent crackdown on democracy activists has been
According to the BBC report, the decision was made in recent days by
Home Office, Foreign Office and Department of Culture officials. The
International Olympic Committee is expected to ratify the decision.
The board of senior government officials had been assessing Joumaa´s
application for a while and had reached a decision in the last few
days, the report said.
The London Games organizers Locog must now notify the International
Olympic Committee (IOC) of the decision, which has the final say.
The BBC’s correspondent said that while the IOC can be “very, very
protective of these sorts of issues where politics and sports
collide”, it was “extremely unlikely” to go against the UK
The IOC confirmed it has been told informally about the travel ban
and a spokesman told the BBC, “At this stage we have not yet received
any official approach on this issue and it would be premature to
comment on any individual cases.”
The UN says at least 10,000 people have died in Syria since the
uprising there began in March 2011.
After the massacre of more than 100 unarmed men, women and children
in the town of Houla last month, the British government suggested
members of the Assad regime could be banned from the games, the BBC
Foreign Secretary William Hague said at the time he was “absolutely
sickened” by the deaths, which “shine a light to the whole world on
the oppression and brutality of the regime.” (IsraelNationalNews ©
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