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British Judge Orders Inquest Into Litvinenko Poisoning

September 20, 2012

British judge Robert Owen has ordered that an inquest into the 2006 fatal poisoning of a former officer from Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), Aleksandr Litvinenko, be held in early 2013.

At a pre-inquest hearing in London, it also emerged that the British government has ordered that portions of the police report on Litvinenko's ties with the British MI6 spy agency be kept from the public.

Litvinenko's widow, Marina, requested the inquest.

British police have identified Andrei Lugovoi, a former FSB security agent, as a suspect in the murder.

Russia has refused to extradite Lugovoi to Britain.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said on September 20 that Moscow believed the inquest will show Lugovoi is innocent.

Litvinenko, a British citizen and a former Russian intelligence agent turned Kremlin critic, died on November 23, 2006, just over three weeks after drinking tea laced with highly radioactive polonium-210 at a London hotel.

Based on reporting by dpa and ITAR-TASS


Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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