Volume 96, Issue 62
Tuesday, January 21, 2003

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Drinking jockeys and Saddam's son

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) – The International Olympic Committee is investigating accusations that Saddam Hussein's oldest son, the head of Iraq's Olympic association, tortured and jailed athletes.

"We've received the complaint and we're dealing with it," IOC ethics commission official Paquerette Girard Zappelli told The Associated Press. She said she could not comment further while the inquiry was under way.

In December, Indict, a London, England-based human rights group, lodged a complaint demanding that the IOC expel the Iraqi National Olympic Committee. Citing witness statements by exiled Iraqi athletes and United Nations reports, Indict said the Iraqi committee was in violation of the IOC's ethics code.

The group contended Odai Saddam Hussein once made a group of track athletes crawl on newly poured asphalt while they were beaten and ordered that some be thrown off a bridge. It also alleged he ran a special prison for athletes who offended him.

The Iraqi committee also participated in the looting of Kuwait during Saddam's 1990-1991 occupation of that country and continues to run front companies that are used to duck UN sanctions, Indict said.

Indict, which receives three-quarters of its funding from the U.S. Congress, was set up in 1997 to try to get Saddam and leading members of his regime brought before an international tribunal on charges of crimes against humanity.

The IOC ethics commission, whose members include track star Edwin Moses and former UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, previously suspended Afghanistan's national committee because the country's former Taliban regime barred women from sports.

The ethics commission was set up in 1999, largely to monitor the behaviour of IOC members in the wake of a bribery and corruption scandal that swept the Olympic movement.

LONDON (AP) – Jockeys in Britain will face random breathalyzer tests when the thoroughbred racing season begins this spring.

The Jockey Club, which governs horse racing in Britain, confirmed the move Monday, a day after five-time champion jockey Kieren Fallon said he was being treated for alcohol abuse at an Irish clinic.

The introduction of the breath tests was unrelated to Fallon, Jockey Club spokesman John Maxse said.

"The plan for us to introduce the breathalyzer on a race course has been in place for some time," Maxse said. "It's just taken a little bit of time to come to fruition."

He said the aim is to ensure that racing is as safe as possible for the jockeys.

"And we think having breathalyzer tests on the race course will increase the deterrent to any abuse problems," he said.


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