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Russian Murder Suspect Nominated to Run for Parliament

16 September 2007

Russian news reports say Andrei Lugovoi, the sole suspect in last year's poisoning death of a Kremlin critic in London, has been nominated to run for the Russian parliament on an ultra-nationalist ticket.

The reports quote the leader of Liberal Democratic Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, as saying Lugovoi will stand as the party's number two candidate in December elections for the lower house of parliament.

British police suspect Lugovoi poisoned Russian spy-turned-Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko in London last year using a radioactive substance. Lugovoi has denied involvement in Litvinenko's death.

Moscow has rejected Britain's request to extradite Lugovoi, saying its constitution forbids it. Under Russian law, Lugovoi would become immune from prosecution if elected to parliament.

British authorities say Litvinenko died from ingesting the deadly isotope polonium 210, thought to have been dropped in his drink last November at a bar in a London hotel.

Police say Lugovoi and another Russian businessman met with Litvinenko at the hotel on the day of the poisoning. Polonium traces were later found at the bar, and in numerous other places in London.

On his deathbed, Litvinenko accused the Kremlin and President Vladimir Putin of ordering the poisoning. Both have denied involvement.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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