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Court extends defendant's arrest in fatal nightclub fire case

May 24, 2012, 0:52 UTC+3

Zak was rushed to hospital from the courtroom on a number of occasions because of diverticular disease

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PERM, May 24 (Itar-Tass) — The Lenin district court of Perm on Wednesday extended, to September 8, the arrest of the key defendant in the case over the fire at the Khromaya Loshad /Lame Horse/ nightclub in Perm in 2009, in which more than 150 people died, prosecutor for the state Vadim Kazarinov told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.

"The court met the investigator's petition and extended Anatoly Zak's arrest to September 8," Kazarinov said.

According to last week reports, the European court of human rights said the condition of Anatoly Zak's health was not critical and therefore he should stay in a remand prison. "In actual fact, Zak is in medium severity condition. He is receiving available treatment, but doctors believe his condition might worsen any moment. The stress might result in rather serious consequences," Zak's lawyer Pavel Yakovlev said.

Zak was rushed to hospital from the courtroom on a number of occasions because of diverticular disease. In April, a medical board certified him as disabled person and the doctors' conclusion was attached to the case.

So far, his disability has not influenced the trial in any way, but if he is found guilty, it may play a role in meting out the penalty.

The court is expected to begin questioning Anatoly Zak shortly, thereupon the parties will present their arguments.

"The questioning may end within a month, and we'll be able to go to the next stage," Pavel Yakovlev said.

The trial has been held in Perm's Lenin district court since October 4, 2010. There are 404 injured parties.

Overnight from December 5 to December 6, 156 people died in the fire that broke out at 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, and father and son Igor and Sergei Derbenev, who arranged fireworks.

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.

In September 2010, nightclub co-owner Konstantin Mrykhin was detained in Spain. On May 14, 2012, Perm's Lenin district court sentenced him to 6.5 years in a general regime penitentiary.

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