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Skripals reluctant to appear at inquiry into death of Dawn Sturgess — lawyer

Sturgess’s family still want the Skripals to be kept on the list of possible witnesses

LONDON, June 22. /TASS/. Former Russian military intelligence (GRU) Colonel Sergey Skripal, earlier convicted in Russia of spying for Great Britain, and his daughter Yulia are reluctant to appear at an inquiry into the death of a British citizen, Dawn Sturgess, the Skripals' barrister Jack Holborn said in a shorthand report of the sitting seen by TASS.

According to the lawyer, his clients fear their security cannot be guaranteed. Also, they insist that they have provided the British police with enough evidence regarding the circumstances of Surgess’s death in Amesbury in the summer of 2018. "No security measures are perfect," Holborn said.

Meanwhile, Sturgess’s family still want the Skripals to be kept on the list of possible witnesses even as they understand their reluctance. They say they have not had access to the Skripals’ police interviews.

"My inclination is to await the disclosure of the interviews and any other material before making any final decision about the Skripals. I’m acutely conscious of the risk they would be subjected to but, if it’s necessary, we will see," said former Supreme Court justice Anthony Hughes, who chairs the inquiry.

If the British version of the affair is to be believed, Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia were affected by a nerve agent in the British town of Salisbury on March 4, 2018. London later claimed that the substance had been developed in Russia and Moscow was allegedly behind the incident. The Russian side strongly dismissed all speculations on this score, saying that no programs for developing such a substance had ever existed either in the Soviet Union or in Russia. Specialists at Britain’s laboratory in Porton Down said they were unable to identify the origin of the substance that had been presumably used for poisoning the Skripals.

Sturgess and her companion Charles Rowley on June 30, 2018 were taken to the hospital in Amesbury in critical condition. On July 8, the news arrived Sturgess had died in the hospital. Rowley was discharged on July 20 only to be hospitalized once again; this time diagnosed with meningitis.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical weapons in September 2018 said in a report that Sturgess’ death was due to a contact with the same chemical that had earlier affected the Skripals.