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ECHR sends inquiry to Russia on Litvinenko case

RIA Novosti

21:27 14/12/2010 MOSCOW, December 14 (RIA Novosti) - The European Court of Human Rights, considering a complaint from the widow of Russian security service defector Alexander Litvinenko, has sent Russia a number of questions on the probe into Litvinenko's death, human rights association Agora reported Tuesday.

Litvinenko died of radioactive poisoning in London in November 2006. British investigators accused agent-turned-businessman-turned-politician Andrei Lugovoi of murder, and demanded his extradition, sparking a major diplomatic row. Britain asked Russia to extradite Lugovoi, but Russia refused.

Agora said the ECHR is interested if Lugovoi has been questioned and whether polonium-210 specimens discovered by British investigators have been compared with specimens of Russia-produced polonium.

The Strasbourg Court also expects an explanation from Russia if Lugovoi's house, car and office have been searched for polonium traces and whether there was a leak of the radioactive substance from a storage depot.

The ECHR registered the complaint of the widow, Marina Litvinenko, in May 2007. She asked the court to rule that Russia violated her husband's right to life. On his deathbed, Litvinenko accused then Russian president Vladimir Putin of orchestrating his death, which the Kremlin strongly denied.

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