This call comes after the British Foreign Office denied to the current inquest to hear evidence related to Russian involvement into Litvinenko’s death. The Foreign Office alleged reasons of national security.
Litvinentko, a former KGB spy then working for the British, died after drinking a cup of tea poisoned with radioactive Polonium 210 at a London hotel in 2006. When he was dying at the hospital, he accused Vladimir Putin as responsible for his death.
Last May 22 Litvinenko’s widow Marina, and son Anatoly, asked for a public inquiry as the only way to reach an investigation on the Russian involvement and find out the truth. And now the Judge acting as a coroner has requested it. The document asking for that inquiry talks about the “public concern” about the case and quotes the Coroner ruling that accepted the Foreign Office limitations when it says that
“…the reference by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee to the murder of Alexander Litvinenko as “a miniature nuclear attack on the streets of London”, to the fact that the Foreign Secretary and others have noted “the manner of Litvinenko’s death put many hundreds of other people at risk”, and to a motion of the US House of Representatives dated 1 April 2008 in which it was noted that Polonium 210 “could be used to kill large numbers of people, or spread general panic and hysteria amongst the public”. As was submitted on behalf of media organizations, the issues to which the inquest gives rise include “… allegations of state-sponsored assassination by radioactive poisoning” of a British citizen in London, issues of the gravest possible public concern.”
“This calls for the widest possible exposure, in particular of the evidence indicating that the Russian state was culpable. But the consequence of the Coroner’s PII decision is that the central evidence about that issue will remain secret.”, says the Litvinenko’s family document.
“As the Coroner explains (…), his decision means that neither the issue of Russian State culpability, nor that of whether UK officials failed to protect Mr Litvinenko, can be properly investigated.”, the document says.
“In the absence of the withheld evidence, the Coroner notes, the inquiry would be incomplete, and would fail to discharge his duty to undertake a full, fair and fearless inquiry into the circumstances of Mr Litvinenko’s death (…). The same would be true whether the issues are investigated only on the basis of the publicly available evidence, or if the issues are withdrawn from the scope of the inquest”.
Now, the Coroner has decided to call for a public inquiry in this case as the family asked, and try to take that way the secret evidence into account.
A government official said that they will “carefully consider this request”. A decision on granting a public inquiry would be taken by the home secretary in consultation with the prime minister, foreign secretary and justice secretary, according to “The guardian”.
Considering that the Foreign Secretary already denied the evidences to the inquest for reasons of national security, it is difficult to think he will grant them to a public inquiry. Let’s see what’s the government decision, but when national security appears is difficult that evidences come to public light and the truth is known.
As I said in my post “National security and the death of Litvinenko”, “In this case, to renounce to investigate the “possible Russian state involvement” is equivalent to let the accusation by the victim pointing to president Putin unsolved, and the suspicion opened. And because it was an accusation made when he was dying, it’s really powerful.
It’s not a surprise that in this spy stories “National security” arises and stops investigations to reach the truth, but in this case I had some hopes because of the notoriety of the death of Litvinenko, the fact that the killing was so obvious, and in London with a radioactive substance that could put in risk more people. But it seems it will be another mysterious case for a long time or for ever. It would be hard to know the truth about the Russians involvement and why Litvinenko had to die.”
I would like to be wrong, see this request granted and the evidences handed to the public inquiry. So, finally know what happened in 2006, why, who was responsible and see them pay their responsibility.
- Coroner requests Litvinenko inquiry (bbc.co.uk)
- Alexander Litvinenko: coroner urges public inquiry into death (guardian.co.uk)