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Mowaffak Joumaa, Syria's top Olympic official, barred from London 2012

The head of Syria's Olympic Committee, General Mowaffak Joumaa, has reportedly been denied entry to Britain for the 2012 London Olympics.

Syria assad 2011 3 21Enlarge
A boy, whose face is painted in the colors of the Syrian flag, shouts during a demonstration against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad's rule, outside the Syrian embassy in central London, on March 19, 2011. (Ben Stansall/Getty Images)

Britain will not allow the head of Syria's Olympic Committee, General Mowaffak Joumaa, to attend the 2012 London Games, reports say.

According to the BBC, Joumaa has been refused a visa because of his links to President Bashar al-Assad's regime. 

The network reported that the UK Home Office, Foreign Office and Department of Culture, Media and Sport had agreed on the decision.

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Sources told the Guardian that there was "very little sympathy" for Joumaa among British officials.

The decision to exclude him must be ratified by the International Olympic Committee – which, the Guardian said, has already indicated that it will support whichever position the British government takes.

Britain's deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, hinted last month that Syrian officials would be banned from the London Olympics.

"If there is evidence that you have abused human rights and that is independently shown to be the case, you will not be able to come," he told the BBC in May.

"If the British government has decided to ban anyone connected to the regime and to President Bashar al-Assad, I am telling you in advance they should ban all Syrian citizens, because we all support President Assad and support Syria," Joumaa responded at the time.

It is not yet clear whether any other Syrian officials will be banned. British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that Syrian athletes are welcome to attend the games, according to Agence France Presse.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/120622/mowaffak-joumaa-syria-banned-london-olympics