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Court resumes hearings of Perm nightclub fire case

November 02, 2011, 11:09 UTC+3

Overnight from December 5 to December 6 2010, 156 people died in the nightclub, and another 64 were seriously injured

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PERM, November 2 (Itar-Tass) — Perm's Lenin district court on Wednesday resumed the hearing of the case over the fire at the Khromaya Loshad (Lame Horse) nightclub in 2009, in which more than 150 people died.

Chief defendant and de-factor nightclub owner Anatoly Zak was convoyed to the courtroom from a remand prison. Earlier, was unable to attend because of health problems.

On Tuesday, Zak had high blood pressure and the doctors prohibited his being taken to court. Reports said Zak had flatly refused to take medicines, but at the Wednesday hearing, he denied it.

"I never refused it, I insisted on taking the prescribed drugs, and refused to take magnesia which my treatment does not envision," Zak stated.

At the Wednesday hearing, a judge read a letter from the acting prison chief who noted that Zak had to be sent to the regional hospital for inmates in Solikamsk from November 4 through November 19.

During a testimony last week, surgeon Yuri Gusarev, who had examined Zak, said medical terminology did not envision a grave form of Zak's disease. He had complications in 2010, but Zak had been operated upon and the health problem was partially resolved.

The doctor noted that to avoid inflammation and perforating ulcer, Zak needed new surgery. "However, there are no reasons to hurry it up, as there have been no complications. Zak does not need urgent hospitalization," Gusarev said.

The court therefore refused to free the defendant from custody.

In December 2010, Zak was rushed to the Perm regional hospital with intestinal rupture. He was operated upon and advised about further surgery. After another surgical intervention in June, doctors said Zak needed long rehabilitation.

Overnight from December 5 to December 6, 156 people died in the nightclub, and another 64 were seriously injured. Nine victims suffered medium gravity harm to health, and another seven suffered light harm to health.

The defendants are: Anatoly Zak, a de-facto co-owner of the nightclub, unofficial executive director Svetlana Yefremova and art director Oleg Fetkulov, father and son Igor and Sergei Derbenev, who arranged fireworks, and former head of the State Fire Safety Inspectorate for the Perm Territory Vladimir Mukhutdinov.

In September 2010, Konstantin Mrykhin, another nightclub co-owner, was detained in Spain. The issue of his extradition to Russia was settled on June 16, after Spain had denied political asylum to Mrykhin.

Mrykhin is accused of the commission of crime under Criminal Code articles on the provision of services that fail to meet the requirements for the safety and health of consumers, which resulted in the death of two or more persons.

The authorities recognized 404 people to be the victims within the criminal case, SK spokesman Vladimir Markin said earlier.

According to the SK, the fire broke out during the show with the so-called "cold fireworks." At first, foam plastic that lined the ceiling caught fire. The investigators also blamed the improper performance of duties by fire inspectorate personnel, who had failed to expose various violations of the fire safety regulations at the cafe.

The case materials comprise 120 volumes. In the course of the probe, the court arrested Zak's assets and property. Zak, who is the founder or co-founder of 28 commercial firms, owns 18 real estate facilities.

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