[QODLink]
Europe

UK refuses to probe Russian spy poisoning

Government turns down coroner's request for investigation of KGB agent's killing in London on national security grounds.

Last Modified: 12 Jul 2013 13:36
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Alexander Litvinenko died after drinking tea poisoned with a rare radioactive isotope in a London hotel [AP]

The UK will not be holding a public inquiry into the murder of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, who died in London in 2006 from radioactive poisoning, a British coroner said.

Robert Owen, who was assigned to hold an inquest into the death of the KGB agent, was told on Friday morning that the government had turned down his request for an inquiry.

Litvinenko, 43, died after drinking tea poisoned with a rare radioactive isotope in a London hotel, and from his deathbed he accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering his murder, a charge Russia has repeatedly denied.

Owen said the British government's desire to keep intelligence evidence secret on national security grounds meant he would not be able to uncover the truth and that a full public inquiry would have a better chance of finding out who had killed Litvinenko.

In a letter to the government last month, Owen wrote, "I have formed the firm view that such an inquiry is necessary if Mr Litvinenko's death is to be properly investigated.

"For the avoidance of doubt, I should say that I regard investigation of the 'preventability' and 'Russian State responsibility' issues as being of central importance in this case."

In May, Owen had agreed to government demands to keep secret information that, if aired at an inquest, could undermine trust in the British government or "cause real harm to the UK's international relations".

233

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps have been released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.