February 17, 2006

Not only banned, but busted too?: Russian biathlete Olga Pyleva, was suspended for 2-years after testing positive for a stimulant. Is it ethical for a government to then press drug charges against the athlete?

posted by elovrich to other at 01:32 PM - 13 comments

i'm not too brushed up on my law, but isn't it not illegal to have drugs in your system? isn't it only a crime if you are caught in posession or visibly under the influence? if that's the case I don't think the italian gov't has the authority to press charges against someone who fails an olympic drug test. unless, it was proved they consumed or were in posession of the drug on italian soil.

posted by erkno11 at 01:46 PM on February 17, 2006

I am not sure of the Italian law. All I know is that the Italian judiciary said her case would be the subject of an inquiry in which Pyleva must submit to questioning by a Turin magistrate.

posted by elovrich at 01:48 PM on February 17, 2006

In the US some jurisdiction have the crime of being publicly intoxicated or publically under the influence. This is obviously normally associated with mood altering drugs but I guess if the drug falls under the umbrella of those drugs it could be considered under the influence. Who knows what the Italian law says though, many of us are thinking mostly of US law.

posted by scottypup at 02:09 PM on February 17, 2006

Doping in Italy is illegal. They decided not to change the law even though the Olympics was going to be there. From the link: In Italy, when an athlete is caught taking drugs, he or she is committing a criminal act.

posted by bperk at 02:17 PM on February 17, 2006

These guys are testing for over a thousand plus substances. I'd be watching what I eat and drink, like a hawk. The troubling thing is that a fair number of these tests are new and not that reliable. This is what happens when what should be a science (the testing of blood/urine) becomes politicized.

posted by slackerman at 02:41 PM on February 17, 2006

The government of Italy's showing remarkably poor judgment by attempting to make this a criminal matter, and the IOC should recognize the dangerous path on which it now treads. The Summer Olympics are in China in two years. Want your country's best athletes to take an Olympic run through its legal system?

posted by rcade at 04:44 PM on February 17, 2006

Italian law is being dealt with here, so it does not matter what U.S. law would be or the justice system. So anyone trying to compare to U.S. system should leave the forum. Now if you have something worthwhile to say regarding Italian law then have at it. From an Italian perspective, and maybe some care should be taken in China. Where local law takes over. Don't leave the U.S. and break the law there unless you want to do their time.

posted by Aggie1 at 05:23 PM on February 17, 2006

Scary thought, rcade, scary thought.

posted by RScannix at 06:02 PM on February 17, 2006

So anyone trying to compare to U.S. system should leave the forum. Wow! a member for 3 weeks and already telling others what to do. Back on subject, it sounds like to me, the Italians want to show they are serious about doping, as they should be. I doubt if they charge her with anything. :o)

posted by Steeler_Fan at 08:38 PM on February 17, 2006

If you can't do the time don't do the crime. To use U.S. standards is wrong. Amount of time in the forum does not change a fact. This is Italian law. It is up to Italians to enforce it or not, and not worry about a bunch of North Americans trying to force their opinion. It would be like the French trying to force their opinion on the U.S., Whoops they did that, and got an appropriate response.

posted by Aggie1 at 10:44 PM on February 17, 2006

Although Italian law does apply on Italian soil, I think the application of criminal law to athletes caught doping is a very bad idea. The IOC also opposes it. First of all, there are already stiff penalties in place for those caught doping. Secondly, in doping cases, we are not typically dealing with substances that are considered harmful to society (heroin, cocaine, etc.) Many banned drugs are in fact legal substances in any context other than sports. Remember what happened to Romanian gymnast Andreea Raducan in the 2000 Sydney Games? She was stripped of her gold medal because she tested positive for pseudoephedrine, a common over-the-counter decongestant, but at that time it was on the IOC list of banned substances. Now imagine if Australian law had treated Andreea's situation as a criminal offense? That would have been totally reprehensible! Punishment for doping should be imposed in the context of sport, and should be the sole responsibility of the IOC and the governing bodies for the various sports. Criminal law really has no place in the Olympics. When the governments of host countries try to impose their views and values on an international event, it is not a good situation.

posted by TerpFan at 12:25 AM on February 18, 2006

I guess the thing that I questioned was whether it was ethical for a government, Italian, American or Martian, to use the results of a testing program by a third party to initiate court proceedings. I do not know what the Italian stance is on probable cause, but would they have had probable cause to test this athlete if she had not tested positive in a routine IOC testing program?

posted by elovrich at 01:43 AM on February 18, 2006

I don't know...ask the NHL

posted by sirvomitousIV at 02:16 AM on February 18, 2006

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