[QODLink]
Europe
Ex-spy contact treated in hospital
A contact of the murdered ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko receives treatment in Moscow.
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2006 22:39 GMT
Media reports that Kovtun is in a coma
have been refuted
 

Russian prosecutors have opened a criminal case into what they say was the attempted murder of a Russian businessman who met ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko before his death from radiation poisoning. 

 

Dmitry Kovtun has also developed symptoms of radiation poisoning and is currently being treated in a Moscow hospital.

The Russian Interfax agency reported that Kovtun was in a coma, but a lawyer later said his condition was less serious.

 

British detectives in Moscow and Russian investigators interviewed Kovtun on Wednesday who, with Andrei Lugovoy, a businessman and ex-KGB spy, met Litvinenko in a London hotel on November 1.

Lugovoy is also undergoing treatment in Moscow for radiation contamination.

Prosecution 

On Thursday, Russian prosecutors simultaneously announced investigations into the Kovtun poisoning and the murder of Litvinenko.

 

The announcement came as Litvinenko was buried in London. He died after exposure to polonium-210, a radioactive isotope.

 

A Russian prosecution statement said: "The Russian prosecutor-general has opened a criminal case in connection with the murder of Russian citizen Alexander Litvinenko and the attempted murder of Russian citizen Dmitry Kovtun."

 

British police are treating Litvinenko's death as a murder inquiry.

 

In a statement released after his death, Litvinenko accused Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, of killing him. The Kremlin has denied involvement. 

 

Funeral

 

Litvinenko was buried at London's Highgate cemetery.

 

Mourners included emigre Russian billionaire Boris Berezovsky, a Putin critic and Litvinenko associate, and Akhmed Zakayev, the London envoy for the Chechen separatist insurgency with whom Litvinenko had worked.

 

Zakayev and Litvinenko's father, Walter, had earlier said prayers for him at the Regent's Park Mosque in central London.

 

Zakayev has said Litvinenko converted to Islam before his death though another associate said he was unaware of any conversion.

 

Also on Thursday, a British health agency said that seven staff from a London hotel bar where Litvinenko drank before his death have tested positive for traces of polonium-210, the same radioactive isotope which killed Litvinenko.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Since she was 16-years-old, Scottish Nationalist Party's Sturgeon has strove for independence from the UK.
Armed group's ransom success with German hostages marks a re-emergence, as authorities investigate ISIL links.
Western nations are moving into the resource-rich country after decades of disinterest, challenging China's interests.