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Strasbourg court sets deadline for Russia on Litvinenko case

RIA Novosti

14:56 15/12/2010 PARIS, December 15 (RIA Novosti) - The European Court of Human Rights has given Russia a deadline before March 16 to provide information on the murder case of poisoned former Russian security agent Alexander Litvinenko.

The Strasbourg Court sent Russia a number of questions on the probe into Litvinenko's death upon a complaint from his widow, Marina Litvinenko. The complaint was registered in May 2007.

The widow 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.

"The court has requested the Russian government provide its considerations by March 16, 2011," a court spokesperson said.

In the request, the court suspects Russia of involvement in violating Litvinenko's right to life, expresses doubt over the thorough probe into the agent's murder and questions the possible role in it of agent-turned-businessman-turned-politician Andrei Lugovoi.

Litvinenko died of radioactive poisoning in London in November 2006. British investigators accused Lugovoi of murder, and demanded his extradition, sparking a major diplomatic row between the two countries. Britain asked Russia to extradite Lugovoi, but Russia refused.

The ECHR is interested if Russian State Duma MP 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.

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