Puerto prosecutor to appeal sentences, plans for blood bags

Prosecutor to file appeal and ask for Fuentes' sentence to be extended to two years, meaning jail time

MADRID (AFP) — The public prosecutor in the Operacíon Puerto case, in which Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes was convicted for endangering public health in his administration of blood transfusions, signaled his intention to appeal Fuentes’ sentence and the destruction of more than 200 blood bags seized from his apartments.

Fuentes was sentenced to a one-year prison term, which will be converted to probation, after he was found guilty of endangering public health along with one of his co-accused Jose Ignacio Labarta, who was given a four-month sentence.

Three others — Yolanda Fuentes, Vicente Belda and Manolo Saiz — were all found not guilty, but the case attracted particularly bad press for Judge Julia Patricia Santamaria’s decision to order the blood bags belonging to clients of Fuentes be destroyed rather than released to anti-doping authorities for inspection.

A spokesman for public prosecutor confirmed on Friday that they will join the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) in appealing that decision. Cycling world governing body, the UCI, and the Spanish Anti-Doping Agency (AEA) have also signaled their intention to appeal.

Moreover, the public prosecutor will ask for the sentences given to Fuentes and Labarta to be extended to two years and that a four-year ban against Fuentes practicing in sports medicine be extended to all forms of medical practice.

The decision to absolve Saiz of any responsibility will also be appealed with a two-year sentence being requested for the former head of the ONCE and Liberty Seguros cycling teams, but the public prosecutor is satisfied with the decision made by Judge Santamaria in relation to Yolanda Fuentes.