Saturday 23 September 2017

British government refuses to hold public inquiry into Litvinenko death

Alexander Llitvinenko's widow Marina speaks to the media outside the Royal Courts of Justice, in central London
Alexander Llitvinenko's widow Marina speaks to the media outside the Royal Courts of Justice, in central London
Alexander Llitvinenko's widow Marina outside the Royal Courts of Justice, in central London
Handout photograph of Litvinenko lying in his hospital bed in London...Alexander Litvinenko is seen lying in his hospital bed in this photograph taken November 20, 2006. The former Russian spy fighting for his life in a London hospital after being poisoned was the target of a Kremlin-backed plot, a close friend said on Monday, a claim Moscow called "nonsense". EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. REUTERS/Handout (BRITAIN)...I

THE British Government has refused a request to set up a public inquiry into the death of poisoned Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in a blow to his widow's quest for truth.

Coroner Sir Robert Owen told a hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice that his request for a public inquiry, in place of an inquest, was turned down at 10.15am today.

 

Sir Robert previously ruled that vital secret evidence could not legally be considered as part of a normal inquest and asked the Government to hold an inquiry instead.

 

His call was backed by Mr Litvinenko's widow Marina, who was present at the hearing.

 

Mr Litvinenko, 43, was poisoned with radioactive polonium-210 while drinking tea at the Millennium Hotel in London's Grosvenor Square in 2006.

 

The family believe he was working for MI6 at the time and was killed on the orders of the Kremlin.

 

Ben Emmerson QC, representing Mrs Litvinenko, told the hearing that the Government had shown an "utter lack of professionalism" in the way it handled the request for a public inquiry.

 

"The repeated catalogue of broken promises is a sign of something gone awry," Mr Emmerson QC said.

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