Bolshoi dancer found guilty of acid attack

Pavel Dmitrichenko and two co-defendants nearly blinded the ballet company’s artistic director Sergei Filin in attack

Dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko and two co-defendants have been found guilty of an acid attack that nearly blinded the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet last January.

After a month-long trial, the Russian judge said Dmitrichenko and two co-defendants had intentionally caused grievous bodily harm to the victim, Sergei Filin.

Prosecutors have asked for a nine-year prison sentence for Dmitrichenko, 29. Judge Yelena Maximova is expected to issue a sentence later on Tuesday.

The attack on 17 January, which badly damaged Filin’s eyesight, revealed bitter rivalries behind the scenes of the Bolshoi theatre and damaged the reputation of one of Russia’s most prominent cultural institutions.

Dmitrichenko has acknowledged he wanted Filin ‘roughed up’ and had given co-defendant Yuri Zarutsky the go-ahead to hit him, but said he had not wanted acid to be used. He pleaded not guilty.

Reading out the verdict as the defendants sat in a courtroom cage, the judge said Dmitrichenko had told co-defendant Yuri Zarutsky on the night of the attack that Filin was on his way home from the theatre.

Zarutsky, who has admitted guilt, has said that throwing acid in Filin’s face was his own idea and he had not told Dmitrichenko of his plan. A third defendant, Andrei Lipatov, was accused of driving Zarutsky to and from the scene of the crime.

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