Saturday 19 August 2017

Widow of murdered Russian dissident Litvinenko welcomes investigation pledge

Sam Marsden

THE WIDOW of murdered Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko today welcomed a coroner's pledge to carry out a wide-ranging investigation into her husband's death.



St Pancras coroner Dr Andrew Reid said the former KGB agent's inquest should have a broad scope and announced he would ask the Metropolitan Police and intelligence agencies MI5 and MI6 to carry out further inquiries.

Mr Litvinenko's widow, Marina, said this decision was "very important" to her because it meant the inquest would examine allegations that the Russian state was involved in the killing.

Dr Reid said he would make a ruling at a later date on whether he would hold the inquest himself or ask for a senior judge to be appointed to hear it.

A pre-inquest review at St Pancras Coroner's Court in north London heard that the Crown Prosecution Service is currently considering a new file of evidence about the case submitted by police in August.

Mr Litvinenko, 43, fell ill shortly after drinking tea during a meeting at a West End hotel with former KGB contacts and died in London's University College Hospital on November 23 2006.

British prosecutors have named fellow ex-KGB agent Andrei Lugovoy as the main suspect in his murder, but the Russian authorities have repeatedly refused to send him to face trial in the UK.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev insisted during a visit to Moscow by Prime Minister David Cameron last month that Mr Lugovoy - now a Russian MP - would never be extradited to Britain.

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