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Russian investigators refuse to take part in British inquiry into Litvinenko death

September 03, 2014, 14:32 UTC+3 MOSCOW
British Home Secretary Theresa May announced in a written message to the parliament on July 22 that a public hearing on the Litvinenko case would be hel
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Alexander Litvinenko in 2002

Alexander Litvinenko in 2002

© AP Photo/Alistair Fuller, File

MOSCOW, September 3. /ITAR-TASS/. The Russian Investigative Committee (IC) refused to take part in British public inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officer, as the inquiry would not be "public at all", a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said on a statement on Wednesday.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in the statement that the Russian Investigative Committee had already informed the UK authorities of its decision against taking part in the hearings.

British Home Secretary Theresa May announced in a written message to the parliament on July 22 that a public hearing on the Litvinenko case would be held. According to her, the inquiry would be conducted by a specially appointed judge, Sir Robert Owen, who would hear any person wishing to testify and provide any relevant information.

“Since December 2012, the Russian Investigative Committee has been actively participating in the case and voluntarily providing assistance to the British coroner appointed to investigate the case at the issue,” the statement said. “The Russian Investigative Committee has been sharing materials of its own investigation with the British police and special services hoping to be part of the investigation in London until the end.”

“However, the British government announced on July 31, 2014 its decision to begin own ‘public inquiry’ into the death (of Litvinenko). In reality it means that the relevant materials, which the British authorities consider ‘classified,’ would be discussed at closed hearings in London. They would be accessible neither to the Russian Investigative Committee nor to the public on the whole.”

Litvinenko died of polonium 210 poisoning at a London hospital on November 23, 2006. Litvinenko’s health deteriorated sharply after an earlier meeting with his former colleagues Andrei Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun in London at the Millennium Hotel shortly before his death.

British investigators consider Lugovoy, who currently serves as a lawmaker in the Russian parliament, to be the main suspect in the case. Lugovoi denies the charges as the British authorities claim that he was behind Litvinenko’s death.

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