Monday, August 31, 1998 Published at 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
East German coaches fined over doping
Eleven swimmers were found to have suffered because of drugs
Two former East German sports officials have been convicted for giving banned performance-enhancing drugs to young female swimmers.
A court fined coach Rolf Glaeser and sports doctor Dieter Binus, who both worked for the East Berlin sports club SC Dynamo, for causing bodily harm in nine cases.
Binus was handed a fine of 9,000 marks ($5,100) and Glaeser 7,200 marks ($4,077).
The state prosecutor had called for fines twice as high.
"That both of the accused are testifying, although late, helps the court by providing information," presiding judge Hansgeorg Braeutigam said. "The court does not overlook this but recognises that minors were knowingly mistreated."
Glaeser, who now works in Austria, last week made a statement to the court in which he confessed to having given pills containing the banned drug Oral-Turinabol to swimmers he trained. He said the pills were handed to him by Binus.
Binus admitted last month he had given athletes tablets containing anabolic steroids but said he believed the dosages - a maximum of 1,000 milligrammes per year - had not been dangerous to their health.
Eleven swimmers who were listed as joint plaintiffs underwent medical examinations for the court. One woman has a benign liver tumour and other former athletes showed liver damage, extra body hair and deepening of the voice.
Judge Braeutigam rejected the argument that Binus and Glaeser did not know of the potential harm of the male hormones, saying that the entire range of side effects linked to women's use of anabolic steroids was known as early as 1977.
"The court has no doubt that Dr Binus and Mr Glaeser knew of the harmful effects steroids could have on the young swimmers," he said.
Binus' lawyer Suzanne Kossack said she planned to appeal. "I was not convinced by the verdict. In my opinion it was not proven which athletes received what from whom and the connection between consequences and causes was not established," she told reporters.
Both Binus and Glaeser left the court without speaking to reporters, but Glaeser's lawyer said he would not appeal.
A similar trial of five officials from another Berlin club, TSC, ended on August 20 when three were convicted of damaging the health of swimmers and fined up to 27,000 marks ($15,000).
Two more officials in the dock at that trial accepted fines in return for the case against them being dropped.
Prosecutors also aim to bring sports officials in the East German communist party leadership to book for doping.