Perm court resumes trial of nightclub fire case

PERM, August 2 (Itar-Tass) — Perm’s Lenin district court on Tuesday resumed the trial of the case over the fire at the Khormaya Loshad (Lame Horse) nightclub in 2009, in which more than 150 people died.

The hearings were postponed in late June due to poor health of several suspects: Anatoly Zak, the owner of the nightclub, and former State Fire Safety Inspectorate employee Dmitry Roslyakov.

In December 2010, Zak was rushed to the Perm regional hospital with intestinal rupture. He was operated upon and advised about further surgery. After another surgical intervention in June, doctors said Zak needed long rehabilitation.

Dmitry Roslyakov was in Perm regional hospital from June 26 through July 8. He was a neurology department patient. His illness record says he has lumbar backbone problems.

All the defendants were present at the Tuesday hearing. Anatoly Zak lodged a petition requesting to recover his foreign travel passport, which the investigators had seized during the December 5, 2009 interrogation.

“It has lots of notes on my absence in Russia and staying elsewhere,” the defendant noted. His lawyer confirmed that the court might find the information in Zak’s foreign travel passport useful.

The court granted Zak’s petition.

The trial began on October 4, 2010. The hearings are is open to the public.

The fire at the Perm nightclub broke out overnight to December 5, 2009, as it was marking the first anniversary of its establishment. One hundred and fifty-six people died of carbon monoxide and other toxic combustion gases poisoning and another 65 suffered serious harm to health. The authorities recognized 404 people to be the victims within the criminal case, spokesman for the Investigation Committee (SK) Vladimir Markin said earlier.

On June 4, 2010, the SK brought the finalized charges against eight people, including co-founder of the Lame Horse cafe Anatoly Zak, executive director Svetlana Yefremova, and art director Oleg Fetkulov. They were charged with the commission of the crime covered by Article 238, Part 3 of Russia’s Criminal Code (provision of services that fail to meet the requirements for the safety of life or health of consumers, which resulted through negligence in the death of two or more persons).

The firework show organizers (the Derbenev father and son) were charged with violating the rules for the use of explosives, flammable substances and pyrotechnic products.

According to the SK, the fire broke out during the show with the so-called “cold fireworks.” At first, foam plastic that lined the ceiling caught fire. The investigators also blamed the improper performance of duties by fire inspectorate personnel, who had failed to expose various violations of the fire safety regulations at the cafe.

The case materials comprise 120 volumes. In the course of the probe, the court arrested Zak’s assets and property. Zak, who is the founder or co-founder of 28 commercial firms, owns 18 real estate facilities.

In late September 2010, reports said another “Lame Horse” co-owner, Konstantin Mrykhin, was detained in Spain. On June 16, the Spanish authorities denied political asylum to Mrykhin. The investigators charged him in absentia.

The issue of convoying him to the Perm Territory is under consideration.

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