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Iran Press TV

Britain refuses public inquiry into Litvinenko death

Iran Press TV

Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:17PM GMT

The British government has dismissed calls for a public inquiry into the poisoning of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, a coroner has said.

Coroner Robert Owen had sought a full public inquiry to replace his lower-level inquest into the 2006 murder of the former spy in London, however, now the dismissal would leave the current proceedings on the verge of collapse, British media reported.

Litvinenko, 43, was poisoned with radioactive polonium-210 while drinking tea at a hotel in London.

His widow Marina has claimed that her husband, a former KGB agent, was working for Britain's foreign intelligence agency MI6 at the time of his slow and agonising death, and that he was killed on the orders of the Russian government.

Her lawyer Ben Emmerson told an earlier hearing that the British government had shown an 'utter lack of professionalism' in the way it handled the request for a public inquiry.

'The repeated catalogue of broken promises is a sign of something gone awry,' Emmerson told the court.

London's Royal Courts of Justice was heard that the British government had denied Coroner Robert Owen's request for a judge-led inquiry into the killing.

Meanwhile, the British foreign ministry had called for the current inquest into Litvinenko's death to be kept in secret.

Owen had said he would be failing in his duty 'to undertake a full, fair and fearless inquiry into the circumstances of Litvinenko's death' if he was forced to disregard the evidence for national security reasons.


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