Intelligence

Iran Press TV

Litvinenko family lawyer accuses UK of coverup

Iran Press TV

Wed Feb 27, 2013 3:39AM GMT

The lawyer for the family of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko says Britain and Russia are conspiring to try to close an inquiry into his murder for the sake of bilateral trade ties.

Litvinenko, who was once an officer of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) and later a fierce critic of the Kremlin, died on November 23, 2006. He was poisoned on November 1, 2006 with polonium-210, a highly toxic radioactive isotope, at a hotel in central London.

On his deathbed in London, the 43-year-old accused Russian spies of ordering his assassination. The Kremlin denied the allegations and said Litvinenko, who had been granted British citizenship, was a British spy.

On Tuesday, at a pre-inquest hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Ben Emmerson, the lawyer of Litvinenko's widow Marina, said the British government was now trying to withhold details of his clandestine work for Britain's MI6 intelligence service and material which showed that Russia was behind the murder.

'It is crucial, absolutely crucial, that the outcome of this hearing is to scotch, once and for all, any possible suggestion that it is because (Prime Minister) David Cameron is interested in promoting trade with Russia that he is trying to close down the truth about this inquest,' Emmerson said.

However, lawyers for British Foreign Secretary William Hague said that the examination of some government documents in open court is not in the public interest.

They argued that confidential information held by the government about Litvinenko should be subject to a public interest immunity (PII) certificate.

'The disclosure of material would pose a real risk of serious harm to public interest,' said Neil Sheldon, who is one of Hague's lawyers.

GJH/HGL



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