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Gorbachev calls on IOC not to ban Russia from Rio Olympics

Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev (C) arrives prior to the Victory Day parade, marking the 71st anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, at Red Square in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2016. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor/Files
Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev (C) arrives prior to the Victory Day parade, marking the 71st anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two, at Red Square in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2016. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor/Files

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on Friday called on the International Olympic Committee to resist calls to ban Russia from the Rio Olympics in response to doping allegations.

In an open letter to committee president Thomas Bach and other IOC members, Gorbachev said he was deeply concerned by the possibility the innocent would be punished along with the guilty.

"The principle of collective punishment is unacceptable for me," Gorbachev said. "I am convinced that it contradicts the very culture of the Olympic movement based on universal values, humanism and principles of law."

The World Anti-Doping Agency on Monday recommended that the IOC and International Paralympic Committee consider banning all athletes entered by the Russian Olympic Committee for next month's Rio Olympics.

(Reporting By Jack Stubbs, writing by Jason Bush, editing by Larry King)

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