Paralympic Athlete And Coach Kidnapped At Gunpoint
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 6, 2006
BAGHDAD, IRAQ--The Agence France Presse has reported that a coach and an athlete from the Iraqi Paralympic handball team were kidnapped at gunpoint last Wednesday, during a training session in their Baghdad gymnasium.
Witnesses said 48-year-old coach Khalid Najimaldin, and 33-year-old blind player Issam Khalaf, both members of the Sunni minority, were at the gym training for a scheduled match in Jordan, when two jeeps arrived, and armed gunmen burst in and asked for them by name. When Najimaldin tried to resist, the attackers severely beat him, then hauled him and Khalaf away.
"The incident is the first of its kind and will cast a shadow over the families of the disabled, who have already suffered so much in the past," said Tayeh al-Nuaymi, chairman of the Iraqi Paralympic Committee.
Al-Nuaymi said Friday that the team's trip to Jordan was cancelled because several athletes failed to show up to complete the necessary paperwork out of fear.
Last Tuesday, Fadi Adel Yuhanna, a referee for the Paralympic handball team, was killed in a suicide bombing in Baghdad. That same day, the son of the coach of the disabled tennis team, Abdul-Karim Abdul-Hussein, was killed in crossfire.
"Iraq kidnap gangs target disabled sportsmen" (Agence France Presse via Gulf Times)
Disabilities And The "War On Terror" (Inclusion Daily Express)