Bolshoi ballet dancer denies guilt at acid attack trial

Tue Oct 22, 2013 4:18pm EDT
 
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By Maria Tsvetkova and Gabriela Baczynska

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko denied any guilt as he went on trial on Tuesday over an acid attack that nearly blinded the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet.

Dmitrichenko, 29, was led into a Moscow courtroom in handcuffs to face trial for the assault last winter that exposed bitter rivalries behind the scenes at one of Russia's great cultural institutions.

He and two alleged accomplices face up to 12 years in prison if they are convicted of intentionally causing grievous bodily harm in the attack on Sergei Filin on January 17.

"I do not admit that I am guilty," Dmitrichenko, who had dark rings under his eyes, told journalists after officers led him and two co-defendants into a metal courtroom cage. He looked at his parents and gave them a brief smile.

Dmitrichenko, who wore a sweater, shook his head at other questions from reporters and said he would have his say in court. But the trial was adjourned until October 29 because of the absence of a lawyer for one of the other two defendants.

Filin, whose position gave him power to make or break careers, was returning home when a masked assailant called his name and threw acid in his face from a jar, leaving him writhing in the snow and calling for help.

At a hearing in March, Dmitrichenko said he had wanted Filin to be roughed up but had been shocked to learn that acid was used.

"Pasha is our third child. Our beloved son. The youngest and the most talented one. I think my son is not guilty," Dmitrichenko's mother Nadezhda said in the courtroom, referring to her son by the diminutive form.   Continued...

 
Dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko looks out from the defendant's holding cell during a hearing in Moscow October 22, 2013. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov