May 9, BERLIN. A judge ordered a new medical examination Tuesday for the former head of the East German Olympic program, on trial for doping female athletes without their knowledge, after the man's lawyer said his client isn't fit to stand trial.
Manfred Ewald, 73, had been examined before the trial and declared conditionally fit, meaning hearings were limited to three hours a day. But his attorney, Frank Osterloh, told the court Tuesday that even that was too much. "The defendant isn't able to intellectually follow the proceedings," Osterloh said. He said Ewald lacks the physical and mental capacity to handle complicated issues.
The court ordered Ewald to undergo a medical examination Wednesday. Judge Dirk Dickhaus said the results, expected by the end of the week, will determine whether the trial proceeds.
Ewald faces 142 counts of being an accessory to causing bodily harm in connection with the side effects of performance-enhancing drugs – ranging from excessive body hair and deep voices to liver, kidney and menstrual problems. He is being tried along with his longtime medical director, Manfred Hoeppner, 66.
Ewald allegedly initiated the doping program and was kept abreast of the results, including the damaging side effects. Prosecutors say Hoeppner ordered the steroid preparations and distributed them to sports doctors and coaches.
The two are the highest-ranking sports officials from the former communist state to be brought into court in connection with the top-secret, state-sponsored doping. Authorities are racing to prosecute the cases before the statute of limitations runs out Oct. 3, the 10th anniversary of German reunification.
Attorneys for Ewald also demanded Tuesday that his trial be conducted separately from co-defendant Hoeppner's. The court is to rule on that request next week.