Litvinenko public inquiry refused by UK government

Former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko was allegedly poisoned in a London hotel. Picture: PA
Former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko was allegedly poisoned in a London hotel. Picture: PA
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The widow of poisoned Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko has vowed to continue her quest for the truth after the Government refused her impassioned calls for a public inquiry into his death.

Marina Litvinenko said she was still “optimistic” the full circumstances behind her husband’s death would be exposed.

Her comments came after suffering another devastating setback in her pursuit of justice, as coroner Sir Robert Owen said the Government had rejected calls for a public inquiry to be set up in place of an inquest.

Outside the Royal Courts of Justice, in London, Mrs Litvinenko said: “Everyone was a little shocked and disappointed by the decision.” She added she wants to know why the Government made its decision.

Mrs Litvinenko yesterday said: “Were they trying to protect the Russian state? Were they trying to protect national security secrets?”

A Government spokesman said: “We believe the coroner’s inquest can continue to effectively investigate the circumstance of Mr Litivenko’s death and we will continue to co-operate fully with it.”

Mr Litvinenko, 43, was poisoned with radioactive polonium-210 while drinking tea at the Millennium Hotel in London’s Grosvenor Square in 2006.

The family believe Mr Litvinenko was working for MI6 at the time of his death and was killed on the orders of the Kremlin.

Sir Robert previously ruled that vital secret evidence could not legally be considered as part of a normal inquest and asked the Government to hold an inquiry instead.