Moroccan federation says boxer does not understand assault claims

AFP , Saturday 6 Aug 2016

Saada Hassan
Saada Hassan of Morocco, pictured on August 1, 2016, was accused of calling two female cleaners to his room on the pretext of asking them a question and then improperly touched them (AFP)

Moroccan Olympic boxer Hassan Saada, who has been arrested in Rio for allegedly sexually assaulting two female cleaners, "does not understand the allegations", the Moroccan Boxing Federation said on Saturday.

Officers arrested Saada, 22, from Casablanca, on suspicion of committing the assault on Wednesday, said a police statement released hours before Friday's opening ceremony.

"According to investigations, on August 3 the athlete sexually assaulted two Brazilian room cleaners who were working in the athletes' village," it said.

Police sources told Brazilian news site G1 that Saada was accused of calling the cleaners to his room on the pretext of asking them a question and then improperly touched them. The women managed to escape.

The site said that two other athletes were allegedly in the room at the time but did not react to the assault.

The Moroccan Boxing Federation said on Saturday the women had been in Saada's room, but that he "does not understand the allegations".

Two boxers were in the suite at the time, it said in a statement.

"The doors were open, and no noise and no complaints were heard," it said.

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) lists Saada as a former Moroccan youth champion and "newcomer to the international scene".

He was to have fought in the light-heavyweight category at Rio, with his first bout scheduled for Saturday against Turkey's Mehmet Nadir Unal, G1 reported.

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