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Head of Russian Paralympic Committee writes open letter to Thomas Bach

August 11, 0:42 UTC+3
On Sunday, August 7, the International Paralympic Committee decided to ban Russian Paralympic athletes from competing in the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro
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© Mikhail Klimentyev/TASS

MOSCOW, August 11 /TASS/. Vladimir Lukin, the head of the Russian Paralympic Committee, wrote an open letter to IOC President Thomas Bach after the Russian Paralympic squad had been barred from Rio Paralympics 2016, the Russian Paralympic Committee said on its website.

On Sunday, August 7, the International Paralympic Committee decided to ban Russian Paralympic athletes from competing in the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

"I am appealing to you in response to your statement made on August 8, 2016 concerning the decision of the International Paralympic Committee to suspend the Russian Paralympic Committee membership. It is absolutely clear that in this case we are dealing with the principle of collective responsibility for unproven crimes," Lukin wrote in his letter.

"The IPC decision drastically contradicts the basic principles of international law and European culture which form the foundation of Olympic and Paralympic values. The practice of punishing ruthlessly and indiscriminately the innocent people, on whom life has already been hard, for possible abuses made by the very few individuals (who should certainly be punished) is far from the principles of European humanism and the basic notions of European law," the head of the Russian Paralympic Committee wrote.

He also criticized the practice of collective responsibility. "The practice of collective responsibility and non-individualized punishment when the investigation is still under way and no court decisions have been made; the presumption of guilt and the principle of dual punishment for one and the same offence is not what the best people in your and in my country have been fighting for," Lukin said.

On July 22, the International Paralympic Committee filed a lawsuit against the Russian Paralympic Committee upon receipt of the names of 35 Russian Paralympic athletes who were mentioned in a report of the WADA independent commission chaired by sports law professor Richard McLaren. The WADA executive committee recommended the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee and all international sport federations to ban Russian athletes and Paralympic athletes from competitions.

The Paralympic Games took place in Rio de Janeiro on September 7-18.

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