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Britain rejects compromise deal on Litvinenko - paper

RIA Novosti

10:12 13/09/2011

MOSCOW, September 13 (RIA Novosti) - Britain has dismissed a Russian proposal to open a joint investigation into the 2006 death of Alexander Litvinenko, a leading Russian paper said on Tuesday, citing a source close to the talks.

Litvinenko, a former KGB officer and outspoken critic of then-president Vladimir Putin, died in November 2006 in a London hospital after being poisoned with the radioactive substance polonium-210.

British police suspect ex-KGB bodyguard Andrei Lugovoi of the murder. Russia rejected British requests to extradite Lugovoi, citing its Constitution, which does not permit the extradition of Russian nationals. The row led to a drastic deterioration in bilateral relations.

“In as much as we cannot hand over Lugovoi, a solution could be found by means of a joint investigation,” the Kommersant newspaper quoted a source in Russia as saying.

“We proposed this to the British – if it turns out Lugovoi really was guilty then he should be jailed. But in Russia. They didn’t want this,” the source added.

British Prime Minister David Cameron raised the Litvinenko issue on Monday in Moscow, the first visit to Russia by a British premier since 2005. But he was told firmly by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that the extradition of Lugovoi would “never happen.”

Lugovoi, who enjoys immunity from prosecution in Russia after being elected to the lower house of parliament in 2007, has suggested he stand trial in a third country in a bid to defuse the row.

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