Court: U.K. Must Revisit Idea of Public Probe Into Litvinenko Death

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Feb. 11, 2014, 9:25 a.m.

A key U.K. ju­di­cial body has ruled that Bri­tain must re­con­sider hold­ing a pub­lic in­quiry in­to the po­loni­um pois­on­ing death of Rus­si­an dis­sid­ent Al­ex­an­der Litv­inen­ko.

A Tues­day rul­ing by the High Court of Justice in Lon­don re­quires Brit­ish Home Sec­ret­ary Theresa May to re-ex­am­ine her jus­ti­fic­a­tion for pre­vent­ing an open in­vest­ig­a­tion of the 2006 in­cid­ent, Re­u­ters re­ports. The former KGB of­ficer died after drink­ing tea tain­ted with ra­dio­act­ive po­loni­um 210.

May last year blocked a re­quest for such a pub­lic probe from Robert Owen, a cor­on­er who led a closed-door look at cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the death.

“If she is to main­tain her re­fus­al [to hold an open in­quiry], she will need bet­ter reas­ons than those giv­en in the de­cision let­ter,” Lord Justice Steph­en Richards said in a state­ment for a three-judge pan­el. The group un­an­im­ously backed the find­ing, though it is­sued no dir­ect de­mand for a pub­lic probe.

“The case for set­ting up an im­me­di­ate stat­utory in­quiry as re­ques­ted by the cor­on­er is plainly a strong one,” the three judges ad­ded.

An open in­vest­ig­a­tion could im­plic­ate Rus­sia in the death, cre­at­ing po­ten­tial for polit­ic­al and eco­nom­ic fal­lout from any find­ings, ac­cord­ing to Re­u­ters. Mo­scow main­tains it was not in­volved.

Last year, May said polit­ic­al con­sid­er­a­tions had played a role in her de­cision not to go for­ward with an open in­vest­ig­a­tion. She ad­ded, though, that those factors were not de­cis­ive.

The High Court of Justice said there are “strong reas­ons of pub­lic in­terest” for the United King­dom to ex­am­ine al­leg­a­tions of Rus­si­an col­lu­sion in the death.

The Brit­ish Home Of­fice in­dic­ated it is re­view­ing the court’s find­ing.

Mar­ina Litv­inen­ko, the KGB vet­er­an’s wid­ow who ini­ti­ated the push for an open probe, said she was happy to learn about Tues­day’s de­cision.

“This was the murder of a Brit­ish cit­izen on the streets of Lon­don us­ing ra­dio­act­ive pois­on. You would have thought that the gov­ern­ment would want to get to the bot­tom of who was be­hind it,” she said.

What We're Following See More »
BUCKING THE BOSS?
Trump Cabinet Full of TPP Supporters
3 minutes ago
WHY WE CARE

"President-elect Donald Trump railed against the Trans-Pacific Partnership on his way to winning the White House and has vowed immediately to withdraw the U.S. from the 12-nation accord. Several of his cabinet picks and other early nominees to top posts, however, have endorsed or spoken favorably about the trade pact, including Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, announced Wednesday as Mr. Trump’s pick for ambassador to China, and retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, Mr. Trump’s pick to head the Department of Defense."

Source:
LIFTS PRE-EXISTING ORDER
Judge Effectively Ends Michigan Recount
2 hours ago
THE LATEST
WWE WRESTLING OWNER
Trump to Nominate Linda McMahon to Head SBA
16 hours ago
THE LATEST
$6.3 BILLION FOR RESEARCH AND OPIOIDS
Senate Sends Medical Cures Bill to Obama’s Desk
20 hours ago
THE LATEST
HAD CONSIDERED RUNNING FOR GUV IN 2018
Oklahoma AG Pruitt to Get the Nod for EPA Chief
21 hours ago
THE DETAILS
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login