Top European court agrees Russia behind Litvinenko murder

Top European court agrees Russia behind Litvinenko murder

Top European court agrees Russia behind Litvinenko murder

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled Russia was responsible for the death of the former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko. 

Litvinenko was fatally poisoned with radioactive polonium-210 in London in 2006. 

A UK public inquiry was launched 10 years after the death of the former Russian spy turned British citizen. The inquiry concluded that the killing was “probably approved” by Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Russia has always denied any involvement in the death of Alexander Litvinenko.

The UK inquiry also said former KGB bodyguard Andrei Lugovoi and another Russian, Dmitry Kovtun deliberately poisoned Mr Litvinenko. The UK inquiry said the poison was likely put into his tea. 

Litvinenko’s widow took the case against Russia to the ECHR, which has now agreed with the UK inquiry’s conclusion. 

“The court found in particular that there was a strong prima facie case that, in poisoning, Mr Litvinenko, Mr Lugovoi and Mr Kovtun had been acting as agents of the Russian state,” the ECHR ruled.

The court said Russia’s failure to refute claims it had organised the killing pointed towards the state’s responsibility. 

Both Mr Lugovoi and Mr Kovtun have denied any involvement in the killing.

A year afterwards, Mr Lugovoi became a member of Russia’s lower house of parliament for a right-wing nationalist party. He later condemned the UK public inquiry as a spectacle and an open lie.

But the Strasbourg rights court found it had established “beyond reasonable doubt” that the pair had carried out the poisoning, from the complex procurement of “rare, deadly poison”, to the travel arrangements and the repeated and sustained attempts to poison Litvinenko.


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