Lawyer confident Kashechkin will be cleared

Out of competition testing contrary to human rights?

A lawyer for disgraced cyclist Andrey Kashechkin, who tested positive for blood doping following the Tour de France, is looking for the European Court of Human Rights to clear the Kazakh.

A former key member of the Astana team alongside compatriot Alexandre Vinokourov, Kashechkin has protested his innocence since testing positive for homologous blood doping following a random blood test in August. The Kazakh claims he did not inject his own blood to enhance his performance, and has protested the legitimacy of the principle of being tested by the sports authorities.

Now his lawyer, Luc Misson, who co-defended Jean-Marc Bosman, believes Kashechkin is in a similar, if different, position to the Belgian who took football to court, and won, over the issue of the freedom of movement of players in the European Union.

"The Kashechkin case, as regards (the) anti-doping (rules), could be viewed in a similar vein as the Bosman ruling," Misson told AFP.

Misson bases his argument on article 8 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and will use this premise when he steps up to defend the Kazakh rider at a tribunal in Belgium on November 6. Article 8 states that only the public authorities can interfere in people's private lives, and Misson added: "... and the sports authorities are not the public authorities."

Misson will argue that even the principle of collecting blood samples runs contrary to the international charter on human rights, and is thus forbidden. The Belgian lawyer said he is ready to take Kashechkin's case through all the courts, and to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

"It's a case of who wins loses," he said. "If we lose, we will go to the court of appeal, then the Supreme Court of Appeal, then the European Court of Human Rights.

"And then we will be in a very good position. At the human rights court it would lead to a (favourable) decision at a world, if not a European level."

Vinokourov, a former Tour de France runner-up, tested positive for homologous blood doping during this year's race, leading to the expulsion of the entire Astana team.

© AFP 2007

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