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Bolshoi Artists Write Open Letter in Support of Dmitrichenko

Over 150 Bolshoi Theater artists signed an open letter in support of Pavel Dmitrichenko, the dancer accused of ordering an acid attack on the theater's ballet director, Sergei Filin, a news report said Tuesday.

In the letter, addressed to the president, the Russian government, the Bolshoi's board of directors and the media, the authors say Dmitrichenko's right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty is being violated by the mass media, where preliminary information is often presented as the results of a final investigation, RIA-Novosti reported, citing a source close to the theater.

The letter suggests establishing a public commission to investigate the case, the source said.

By signing the letter, the source said, the authors do not wish to show hostility to Filin, but to prevent the investigation from making rash conclusions and suggest that Dmitrichenko may also be a victim in the case.

The source added that the letter was also meant to make up for the non-involvement of the theater's administration, which declined to comment on the matter until a verdict was issued in the case.

It was not immediately known when the letter would be published.

Filin was attacked near his home in Moscow on Jan. 17 by an assailant who flung a highly corrosive acid into his face.

He suffered injuries to his face and eyes and underwent several surgeries before going to Germany for subsequent treatment.

On March 5, police arrested two suspected assailants and the alleged organizer of the attack, Bolshoi solo dancer Pavel Dmitrichenko.

All three suspects confessed to the crime and were placed under arrest.

They have been charged with inflicting serious bodily harm and face up to 12 years in prison.

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