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MOSCOW, April 16 (Itar-Tass) – Moscow's Taganka court on Tuesday extended the arrest of Yuri Zarutsky, suspected of attacking Bolshoi Theatre /GABT/ artistic director Sergei Filin, to June 18.
The court met the investigator's petition which requested prolongation of his arrest. The investigator said Zarutsky might escape or put pressure on witnesses. The prosecutor supported the investigator noting Zarutsky's criminal record and a lack of permanent address in Moscow.
Answering questions at the Tuesday hearing, Zarutsky changed his position regarding the investigator’s petition several times. After being convoyed into the courtroom, he tried to hit a photographer, advising him to "click at his own head." During the hearing, he kept hiding his face behind a sheet of paper and told judge Natalia Konovalova he did not object to custody extension.
Lawyer Nikolai Polozov attached Zarutsky's positive reference given by his neighbors to the case. He is a decent family man and can await the trial without isolation from the society, they said.
The judge noted the defense's position in her resolution, but decided to meet the investigator's petition. Zarutsky's lawyer said he would appeal.
Earlier, the court granted the petition to extend arrest of GABT soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko to June 18. Dmitrichenko is accused of masterminding the assault.
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 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/.
Law-enforcement bodies claimed all the suspects had confessed to the crime.
GABT director general Anatoly Iksanov made it clear that Dmitrichenko would be fired only if the court proved his culpability. Bolshoi Theatre employees said in an open letter that Dmitrichenko could not have masterminded the crime.
The official version of the attack is Dmitrichenko's "hate toward Filin because of the latter's employment activity." Filin, who is convalescing abroad, said he was not in conflict with Dmitrichenko and that he felt "no enmity toward him."