Bolshoi acid attack victim 'cannot see with either eye'

The Bolshoi ballet artistic director who suffered eye and skin damage in a horrifying acid attack in January still cannot see with either eye, his lawyer said Thursday, suggesting that his state of health is worse than predicted by doctors.

"As of today, Sergei Filin cannot see either with his left or right eye," his lawyer Tatyana Stukalova told the Izvestia daily in an interview published Thursday, adding that she was citing an expert medical assessment submitted to the investigation into the attack.

Filin, 42, had sulphuric acid flung in his face outside his Moscow apartment building in Moscow.

A top soloist at the theatre, Pavel Dmitrichenko, 29, has been charged with masterminding the attack although the motive remains unclear. He could serve up to 12 years in prison.

Stukalova told Izvestia that the "sad diagnosis" came in German medical papers that she had arranged to be translated and submitted to the investigation.

"It was acid. How can you see at all after acid, if someone poured a whole jar in your eyes?" Stukalova said.

She said she did not know whether the damage was permanent, however, or how long the treatment would continue.

"The doctors do not give any prognoses," she said.

A Moscow court on Tuesday authorised the continued detention of Dmitrichenko and his two suspected accomplices until June for the investigation to be completed.

Dmitrichenko has said in court that he asked the perpetrator to beat Filin up, not to attack him with acid.

Dmitrichenko's lawyer Violetta Volkova said Tuesday she had not yet seen the medical expert report but added that "the investigation says that the expert report will confirm the grievous nature of the injuries."

After initial treatment in Russia, Filin has spent several months in a German clinic and is due to undergo a further operation to transplant eye tissue.

His last public appearance was at a March news conference in Germany when he wore dark glasses.

German doctors treating him said in March that they hoped to restore enough vision in both his eyes for him to return to his profession.