January 30, 2012
MI5 and MI6 have been ordered to declassify documents in the case of ex-FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko, who died in London in 2006 from radioactive poisoning. The papers are expected to shed light on Russia’s alleged involvement in the matter.
The data request came from Dr Andrew Reid, the St Pancras Coroner, who is conducting an investigation into the death of Litvinenko, reports The Daily Mail.
According to the newspaper, Dr. Reid agreed to review allegations that Litvinenko was killed because of his open criticism of Russia’s Prime Minister and former President Vladimir Putin.
The case “demands an investigation into the alleged criminal role of the Russian state,” says Dr. Raid in his statement that has been leaked to the newspaper.
“The inquiry will extend beyond the mechanical circumstances of death,” reads the statement. “If Mr Litvinenko is shown to have died as a result of ingestion of Polonium 210, the public interest plainly demands an open and fearless investigation into the full circumstances; including how and why this fatal ingestion occurred.”
Dr. Raid specifically stressed that “any lesser level of inquiry would not command public confidence either nationally or internationally.”
Litvinenko died in a London hospital on November 24, 2006. At that time his death was attributed to polonium-210 poisoning after the Health Protection Agency found significant amounts of the highly toxic element in his body.Shortly before he succumbed to the poisoning, he blamed the Russian security services for his death.
The British Prosecutor General has put the blame for Litvinenko’s death on Aleksandr Lugovoy, a former Russian FSB officer and now a Russian parliament member, and two Russian businessmen, Dmitry Kovtun and Vyacheslav Sokolenko. The three men met in Litvinenko’s room at London’s Millennium Hotel, three weeks prior to the former FSB officer’s death.
After Russia refused to extradite Lugovoy in May 2007, the case was frozen and renewed only last October.