The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has found that Russia was responsible for the 2006 murder of former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko in London.
Litvinenko, a former Russian spy who had become an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and had moved to Britain, died in London in 2006 after being poisoned by a rare radioactive substance.
A public investigation in the UK in 2016 found that two Russian men—Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun—deliberately poisoned Litvinenko by pouring polonium-210 into his drink at a London hotel, causing a painful death.
The British investigation, led by former High Court judge Sir Robert Owen, concluded that the murder was “probably” carried out with Putin’s approval.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the European Court said it had found “there was a strong prima facie case that Mr. Litvinenko was acting as an agent of the Russian state in poisoning Mr. Lugovoy and Mr. Kovtun.”
The court said the Russian government “has failed to provide any other satisfactory and convincing explanation of events or to counter the findings of the UK investigation.”
The court found no evidence that any person had any personal reason to kill Litvinenko and that “acting on his behalf” would not have access to the substance. The findings state that state involvement is “the only remaining plausible explanation”.
Russian authorities have always denied any involvement in Litvinenko’s death. And Britain has been unable to pursue criminal proceedings because Russia has refused to hand over the suspects.
Litvinenko’s widow Marina, who took the case to the ECHR, said after the verdict that it was a “very important day” as the findings exposed Russia’s “brutal regime”.
“It is important that Russia takes responsibility”, she told Sky News, adding that “we must not give up the fight against this undemocratic regime in Russia.”
A Russian judge sitting on the ECHR panel, Dmitry Dedov, disagreed with six of his colleagues on the main conclusion of the court.
“The British investigation and the court’s analysis I found several deficiencies, which raise reasonable doubts about the suspects’ involvement in the poison and whether they were acting as agents of the state,” he said.
The court ordered Russia to pay 100,000 euros ($117,000) in damages and 22,500 euros in costs to Marina Litvinenko.
Marina Litvinenko said she does not know whether she will be paid the money, but she still hopes to bring justice to those responsible for her husband’s death in Britain.
PA and Reuters contributed to this report.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times