Russian prosecutors seek nine years for acid attack dancer

Fri Nov 29, 2013 10:01am EST
 
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By Maria Tsvetkova

MOSCOW (Reuters) - State prosecutors demanded a nine-year jail sentence on Friday for a dancer accused of ordering an acid attack that nearly blinded the Bolshoi Ballet's artistic director and exposed bitter rivalries at one of Russia's great cultural institutions.

Pavel Dmitrichenko, a former soloist at the Bolshoi, showed no emotion as he sat still in a courtroom cage listening to the prosecution summary in a trial that lasted one month. The judge said she would issue a verdict on Tuesday.

The prosecution also asked for 10 years in prison for Yuri Zarutsky, who is accused of throwing the acid in artistic director Sergei Filin's face last January, and six years for Andrei Lipatov, accused of driving him to and from the scene.

"Dmitrichenko's motive was a conflict between Filin and Dmitrichenko," prosecutor Yulia Shumovskaya told the Moscow court, saying the dispute was caused by the dancer's disappointment at not being given good roles by Filin.

Filin's lawyer, Natalia Zhivotkova, said: "All the defendants are guilty and, from our point of view, deserve no mercy."

Filin, 43, was left writhing in agony in the snow outside his apartment late at night before he managed to get help after the attack by a masked assailant.

He has since returned to his job at the Bolshoi Theatre but always wears dark glasses and needs further surgery to save his sight, even after more than 20 operations.

In a final statement from a courtroom cage, Dmitrichenko reiterated that he had wanted Filin roughed up and given Zarutsky the go-ahead to beat him, but never intended acid to be thrown in his face.   Continued...

 
Yury Zarutsky looks out from the defendant's holding cell during a court hearing in Moscow in this March 7, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/Files