Before the sport of boxing even got underway in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, another moment of controversy, the latest in a very long list of controversies surrounding this year's games, hit the Olympics before it officially started.
Hassan Saada, a light heavyweight boxer from Morocco, was accused of rape, and is in police custody under a temporary warrant at the request of the Rio de Janeiro police. He was accused of raping two Brazilian maids at the Olympic Village on August 5. The warrant is valid for 15 days.
Saada's attorney, Paulo Freitas Ribeiro, said his client has denied any wrongdoing during an official statement to the local police. Because he is detained by the police, he is not competing in these Olympic Games. He was set to face off against Turkish fighter Nadir Mehmet Unal on August 6, but because of the ongoing investigation, Unal gets the bye and advance to the round of 16.
According to CNN, in the arrest warrant, Judge Larissa Nunes Saly considered the detention necessary because the athlete does not have a proper residence in Brazil. Nourddine ben Abdelnbi, head of the Moroccan Mission at the games, said the alleged incident happened several days prior when maids were cleaning the room where five total boxers were staying.
A statement from the Rio civil police said the following: "The civil police of the 42nd police station ... arrested on the morning of Friday, August 5, the boxing Moroccan athlete, Hassan Saada. According to the investigation, on the third of this month, the athlete would have raped two Brazilian maids who worked in the athletes' village. The arrest took place in the Olympic Village."
Abdelnbi said that while Saada is in Brazilian custody, he is not arrested on rape charges. He is in what Abdelnbi described as "interrogation sessions." The Moroccan delegation believes Saada is innocent and is awaiting the results of the investigation, Abdelnbi said.
The International Boxing Association (AIBA) released a statement that said it has confidence that Brazilian authorities will handle the matter appropriately and would not comment further on the case. It is reported the Rio 2016 Organizing Committee was aware of the case and will cooperate with the police investigation.
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