German Press Review: What′s Fair for Prisoners and Olympians? | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 24.08.2004
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German Press Review: What's Fair for Prisoners and Olympians?

German papers on Tuesday took aim at the Abu Ghraib trials taking place in Germany and discussed the many scandals plaguing the Olympics.

Munich's Süddeutsche Zeitung noted it was Saddam Hussein's old torture chamber -- of all places -- where the so called liberators of Iraq abused prisoners. The Bush administration says it was the act of an isolated few, whether that's true or not will be decided at the trial of the US soldiers at the American base in Mannheim. However, the paper continued under Bush, a climate has developed where the rule of law cannot prosper and bureaucrats in Washington will be able to produce documents legitimizing the use of torture for interrogation purposes.

The Tageszeitung from Berlin also discussed the use of torture but at the US base in Guantanamo Bay. The assurances from the US administration that prisoners there will receive a fair trial remain unconvincing. If this were the case, the paper wondered, why are the proceedings not taking place in front of a normal court? "If the evidence against the accused is so convincing then a jury will also find them guilty and if this evidence does not exist they will have to be let free," the daily wrote. "If it was al Qaeda's aim to destroy western values then Guantanamo Bay is a sign they succeeded."

The Reutlinger General Anzeiger from southern Germany looked at the latest conflict in the Iraqi city of Najaf and says the Americans know the dilemma they face. There is barely any possibility now for negotiating with the radical cleric Moqtada al Sadr. The paper observed that Sadr is dangerously undermining the Iraqi interim government then went on to ask how can he be arrested and his militants disbanded without endangering the holy city of Najaf.

Turning to the Olympics, the Stuttgarter Zeitung commented that those who search a lot find a lot. But the race between the doping cheaters and the controllers will be a tough one as long as the medical and technical advances continue. The paper said it doesn't expect the sports or the athletes clean up their act any time soon.

"Doping is a world-wide problem," the Hannovershe Allegemine Zeitung declared. And it affects all sporting disciplines. While the weightlifters are being hit particularly hard, with ten athletes suspended for doping, boxers, canoeists , cyclists, long distance runners and even baseball players are being caught taking performance enhancing drugs. Yet the paper believed the high number of athletes testing positive isn't a reason for despair but for joy. At least now the anti-doping campaign is finally showing some sign of success.

The Westdeutsche Zeitung from Düsseldorf opined on the Olympic scandal surrounding Bettina Hoy, the German equestrian winner who was stripped of her gold medal after France, Britain and the United States appealed a judges' decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The Westdeutsche esteemed that there are honorable athletes who accept the superiority of their opponents, but the Olympic ideals of fair play and respect for one's opponent was obviously missing in the equestrian event.

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