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MOSCOW, June 14 (Itar-Tass) - Moscow's Taganka court on Friday extended by two months the arrest of all the three suspects in the case over the attack on Bolshoi Theatre /GABT/ artistic director Sergei Filin. GABT soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko, suspected perpetrator Yuri Zarutsky and driver Andrei Lipatov will remain in custody until August 18.
The reasons which the court cited for extending the measure of restraint are the same for all the suspects. "They may escape, put pressure on witnesses or the injured parties, continue to engage in criminal activity or obstruct the probe in some other way," a judge said.
Dmitrichenko and Lipatov reiterated their innocence.
The GABT soloist said "it is other people who are putting pressure on the investigator, not me." He noted however, that "the artistic director did not like him" and that they had disagreements.
Zarutsky who the investigator said was the perpetrator, acknowledged his guilt and stated that he was not seeking to avoid punishment. He said he wanted to humiliate Filin, not inflict a serious injury on him.
"I had no design to inflict grave harm to that person's health. There was no sulphuric acid there, but battery fluid mixed with urine in order to humiliate him," he told the court.
Zarutsky underlined that neither Pavel Dmitrichenko nor Andrei Lipatov knew about his intention and that they were not involved in the crime.
"They are behind the bars for nothing; they are innocent, and Dmitrichenko can be compared to an eaglet struggling against all this filth," the defendant said.
Some ten GABT personnel came to support Dmitrichenko. They say they do not believe he is guilty and that they are hoping for his acquittal. The investigation deadline was pushed to August 18.
The 42-year-old ballet art director was attacked near his house Troitskaya Street in Moscow late in the evening of January 17. An unidentified man splashed acid in his face and fled the scene. Filin was hospitalized with serious face and eye burns.
Police arrested Bolshoi Theatre leading soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko as suspected mastermind, perpetrator Yuri Zarutsky who has a criminal record on file and driver Andrei Lipatov who had brought Zarutsky to the scene of crime. If convicted, they might face up to 12 years in jail /Article 111, Part 3 of Russia's penal code/.
GABT director general Anatoly Iksanov made it clear that Dmitrichenko would not be fired if the court did not prove his culpability. Bolshoi Theatre employees said in an open letter that Dmitrichenko could not have masterminded the crime.
Moscow criminal police said they were confident that Pavel Dmitrichenko and two other suspects were involved in the attack on Filin and that Dmitrichenko's enmity toward Filin was the prime motive.