Fury as East German officials escape prison

Athletes maimed by East Germany's doping regime expressed outrage yesterday at the light sentences handed out to their former tormentors. Although a Berlin court convicted Manfred Ewald, the former head of the East German Sports Federation, and Manfred Höppner, the doctor who devised the doping programme, both men walked free.

Athletes maimed by East Germany's doping regime expressed outrage yesterday at the light sentences handed out to their former tormentors. Although a Berlin court convicted Manfred Ewald, the former head of the East German Sports Federation, and Manfred Höppner, the doctor who devised the doping programme, both men walked free.

Ewald, 74, received a two years' suspended sentence, while Höppner was given 18 months suspended. "This is a verdict that cannot satisfy the victims," said Brigitte Michel, a former discus thrower.

Prosecutors had requested suspended two-year terms for both men who were the driving force behind East Germany's secret doping programme for turning promising young athletes into Olympic medal winners, However, many witnesses said they felt they should be sent to jail if convicted. Ewald, who had pleaded innocence, left the court without a word. Höppner made a brief statement, saying: "You have to know how to lose. I can live with this verdict."

The trial was the longest and most important involving sports officials of communist East Germany. Ewald and Höppner, 65, had been accused of causing grievous bodily harm to 142 women athletes by forcing them to take performance-enhancing drugs, but the court examined only 22 cases as the number of witnesses would have meant the trial lasting too long.

The plaintiffs had been seeking a tougher conviction on a charge of causing serious bodily harm related to side effects they claim were caused by the drugs, ranging from excessive body hair and deep voices to gynaecological problems and even, in at least one case, birth deformities in one former athlete's baby. The presiding judge, Dirk Dickhaus, reading the court's verdict, said simply administering anabolic steroids was enough to support a charge of causing grievous bodily harm. But the court rejected the more serious charge, saying a direct connection could not be established between the steroids and each individual illness, such as breast cancer.

Unlike in previous trials, the court invited some of the victims to recount their tragic stories. Among those testifying was Andreas Krieger, a former female shot-putter who was transformed into a man by the steroids pumped into her body. Krieger suffered a series of crippling ailments and mental breakdown, and felt compelled to have a sex-change operation.

The court heard from 30 former athletes, from women who spoke of sprouting beards, of giving birth to deformed children, and of crippled lives. Ewald, who reigned over the sports establishment of his country in the golden years between 1961 and 1988, had given the order to turn the country into a sporting superpower. Höppner developed the "Special Measures" - a euphemism for a programme of systematic doping.

The sentences handed out yesterday were the toughest in the history of trials of East German officials on doping charges. Other doctors and coaches have already been tried but none had received more than a 15-month suspended term. No officials as senior as Ewald and Höppner have stood trial.

* The Brazilian sprinter Sanderlei Parrela, the silver medallist behind Michael Johnson in the 400 metres at last year's world championships, has tested positive for the banned steroid norandrosterone, after the Rio de Janeiro Grand Prix meeting on 14 May.

News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Sport
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
voices
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
News
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower