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Mass media gave hasty opinion of Filin attack probe – Bolshoi Theatre director

March 12, 2013, 16:47 UTC+3

Iskanov rejected the reproach regarding the Bolshoi Theatre administration's alleged non-interference position

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MOSCOW, March 12 (Itar-Tass) Bolshoi Theatre director general Anatoly Iksanov said the mass media's opinion about the investigation into the attack on the Theatre's artistic director Sergei Filin has been hasty.

"The Bolshoi Theatre employs 3,500 people who know both Sergei Filin and Pavel Dmitrichenko," Iksanov told Itar-Tass on Tuesday, in comments on the mass media reports that GABT staff were collecting signatures in an open letter to defend soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko, arrested on charges of masterminding the attack.

"For a majority of us, the incident is a terrible tragedy, a psychological injury. Many mass media outlets gave hasty opinions and conclusions. The actors' letter is a normal reaction to the situation. Some personnel wish to help their colleague who found himself behind the bars. It's customary in Russia to help people in prisons."

Iskanov rejected the reproach regarding the Bolshoi Theatre administration's alleged non-interference position. "The directorate and the Board of Trustees did everything for Sergei Filin to get quality assistance immediately after the tragedy. The directorate provides to the investigators all the necessary information. The mass media reported whatever could be disclosed without harming the probe," the Bolshoi Theatre director general said.

"In order not to hamper justice, neither the directorate, nor the trustees nor any other persons should substitute law-enforcement bodies or put pressure on the investigators. The investigators have carried out a tremendous amount of work. It is up to the judge to evaluate this work, and determine the degree of culpability and the measure of punishment for the suspects.

As for Sergei Filin's demanding maximum punishment for the detainees, Iskanov said "it is the right of Sergei and his family." "Although the mass media cite the lawyers of the suspects who admit abetting the crime, none of the detainees showed signs of repentance toward the victim," Iksanov said.

Meanwhile, leading soloist of the Bolshoi Theatre ballet Pavel Dmitrichenko is ready to sign a plea bargain agreement.

"My client is ready for plea bargain, within the scope of his testimony," his lawyer Alexander Barkhanov told Itar-Tass.

Dmitrichenko admits "actual guilt in the commission of the crime against Filin," but categorically denies that he had wanted acid splashed on Filin or any other physical harm. It is confirmed by the testimony of suspected perpetrator of the crime Yuri Zarutsky. He insists that Dmitrichenko had never asked him to splash acid on Filin and that he had not paid any money to him for the attack, according to the lawyer.

The investigator had already offered plea bargain to Dmitrichenko; and promised to ask the court not to arrest him if he had confessed to the crime. "My client does not admit his guilt of malicious infliction of serious harm to health by a group of persons in collusion /Article 111, Part 3 of Russia's penal code/," the lawyer said.

He reminded that Dmitrichenko had not appealed his arrest.

Moscow's Taganka court sanctioned the arrest of three suspects till April 18.

When passing the decision on their arrest, the judge said no other measure of restraint was possible, as they could escape from the investigator, put pressure on witnesses, or continue their criminal activity. Also, Dmitrichenko personally knew the victim to whom he felt enmity.

Dmitrichenko, Yuri Zarutsky who has a previous criminal conviction, and driver Andrei Lipatov who had brought the perpetrator to the scene, were detained within the probe into the criminal case into the attack on Sergei Filin, the 42-year-old artistic director of Bolshoi Theatre ballet in the evening of January 17. An unidentified man splashed acid in his face near his house in Troitskaya Street. Filin was hospitalized with serious eye and face burns.

Filin officially denied the mass media reports alleging his plans not to return to Russia.

"Sergei Filin asked to officially announce that the mass media reports alleging his plans to stay abroad do not correspond to reality," member of the Board of Trustees’ executive committee Mikhail Sidorov told Itar-Tass earlier on Tuesday.

"On the contrary, he plans to return home as soon as he gets well, because he cannot imagine not working at the Bolshoi Theatre," Sidorov said.

Bolshoi Theatre staff hope Filin would start working in the summer.


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