The London High Court has sustained the complaint of Marina Litvinenko, widow of the Russia FSB officer Aleksandr Litvinenko, about the government’s refusal to inquire into the role of the Russian secret services in the murder of her husband. Three high court judges quashed the decision of Home Secretary Theresa May not to hold a public inquiry into Russia’s implication in the murder of Litvinenko, saying that the government’s arguments are inconvincible from the legal and logical viewpoint. The court ruled that Ms. May should decide by Friday on whether to appeal against the judgment or reconsider her position.
Meanwhile, Litvinenko herself said to the press: “I am delighted with today’s decision. We have always said that the reasons that the government gave for preventing a full inquiry into the involvement of the Russian state didn’t make sense. Now the High Court has agreed with us. I have always had confidence in the British judicial system to do its best to get at the truth and today’s ruling confirms that. I have never been able to see why the British government should want to protect the people in the Kremlin who ordered my husband’s murder.” At the same time, she called on Theresa May “to accept the judgment of the High Court and to order a full public inquiry that can expose the responsibility of the Russian State for Sasha’s murder.”
The Day has requested the London-based Ukrainian journalist Bohdan TSIUPYN to comment on the High Court ruling and Marina Litvinenko’s chances to win.
“The court ruling is just another step in the struggle of Aleksandr Litvinenko’s widow for what she calls ‘justice,’ and exposing those guilty of her husband’s murder.
“Now that so many years have passed, a lot of people consider this a past-time story. But Litvinenko’s family and relatives want to set the record straight at least to some extent. For Marina Litvinenko, this means to achieve at least some justice. If Russia refuses to extradite Lugovoi, the chief suspect, for a trial, she may insist on a public judicial inquiry. Why is the British government opposing this? Because there is a political aspect – relations with Russia.
“Besides, there are two important factors: the price of this inquiry may reach millions of pounds. Some people believe that this issue may put an end to it at the current stage. For the police have conducted an investigation and identified the suspects. Russia refuses to extradite them – and that’s it.
“The investigation of this case found some proof that Litvinenko had been helping the British secret services to fight Russian organized crime. He helped MI 6 to investigate the laundering of Russian money in the West. It was a serious and dangerous work which he must have paid for with his life.
“But, in spite of many obstacles, the case is gradually approaching the point when Marina Litvinenko’s claim for an open judicial inquiry will be satisfied. But, as it is a question of relations between the two countries, the situation also has a political subtext – the government must take into account the political and international consequences of one step or another.”