The Court of Appeal of Paris condemned the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Wednesday for infringing the presumption of innocence of Habib Cissé - former adviser to the IAAF President (International Association of Athletics Federations) - who was investigated concerning a corruption scandal relating to covering for doped Russian athletes.
The Court of Appeal of Paris condemned the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Wednesday for infringing the presumption of innocence of Habib Cissé – former adviser to the IAAF President (International Association of Athletics Federations) – who was investigated concerning a corruption scandal relating to covering for doped Russian athletes.
The Court of Appeal upheld the judgment brought forward against WADA and then IAAF President Richard W. Pound in October 2016. They are ordered share payment of €8,000 in damages and interest to Habib Cissé, plus €10,000 in legal fees.
A damning report dated January 14, 2016 was brought into question. In this report, Mr. Cissé was described as being “at the heart of the schemes for disrupting IAAF results management… [thus] interfering with the pursuit of prosecution of Russian athletes” and “participating in conspiracy to extort funds from athletes in return for concealing, delaying or suppressing disciplinary sanctions issued against Russian athletes.”
The High Court of Paris had previously ruled that the terms of the report “show evidence of a prejudging guilt; unqualified and without reserve” and bear no mention of a “presumption of innocence.”
WADA must also publish a legal notice on its home page for 30 days.
This decision “confirms that the World Anti-Doping Agency, who prosecuted Mr. Cissé, presented him as a guilty party from the start,” highlights Habib Cissé’s lawyer, Louis-Marie de Roux.
WADA attorney Emmanuel Daoud said that the AFP “regrets” this decision, “because it prevents the Agency, a witness and victim, from outlining facts regarding which it has highly detailed knowledge.” The Agency says that it expects to lodge an appeal.
In November 2015, the investigating judges in Paris began investigating Habib Cissé, former adviser to Lamine Diack, IAAF President of fifteen years, for corruption together with Lamine Diack himself. Charges were also brought against French doctor Gabriel Dollé in late 2014 during the IAAF anti-doping clean-up.
They are suspected of delaying sanction procedures against doped Russian athletes before the London 2012 Olympic Games and the 2013 World Championships in Moscow on the basis of negotiations with Russian sponsors and broadcasting rights.
Habib Cissé was the only person jailed in this case, during a brief provisional detainment in late 2016.