London still 'politicizing' Alexander Litvinenko case, says Moscow

State Duma member Andrei Lugovoi has called "politicized" the hearing by a court in London of the 'Alexander Litvinenko case' and dismissed the accusations of his involvement in the death of the former Russian security officer.

"I have long been not keen on this trial since I have long realized that it is tendentious and politicized. I have not been keen on it since the British authorities declassified a part of the case files, and then these files were declassified after the Crimean events, after the Malaysian Boeing was shot down in the Ukrainian sky," Lugovoi told Interfax on July 31, commenting on the trial in London.

"The aim of this trial is not to find out the truth but to continue hanging labels on Russia," he said.

Litvinenko, who left for the UK in 2000, died in November 2006 soon after receiving British citizenship. After Litvinenko's death, British experts alleged that a considerable amount of radioactive polonium-210 had been found in his body.

"It is acting at the behest of the British government to demonize Russia and its citizens as much as possible. I would express my personal attitude towards this trial with a well-known saying: a dog barks - a caravan is going on," the parliamentarian said.

Bloomberg reported that British police lawyer Richard Horwell told the court on July 30 that the evidence clearly points to the guilt of Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun.

The BBC reported that Horwell thinks the evidence fully proves their guilt, while no credible evidence has been found by investigators of other people being possibly involved in the crime.

Businessman Kovtun, who is also accused of playing a part in Litvinenko's death, refused to comment on the process and claims made at the trial.

 

Russian Foreign Ministry reacts

The UK has no intention of stopping the politicization of the case involving the death in London of former Federal Security service officer Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"The selective approach used by the organizers of the 'public investigation' and their persistent unwillingness under any pretexts to professionally take the reasons provided by the relevant Russian authorities proves once again that the British authorities have no intention of stopping the politicization of this process and arbitrary interpretation of the actual circumstances of the 'Litvinenko case,'" Alexander Bikantov, deputy director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's information and press department, said in response to media requests to comment on the refusal by Dmitry Kovtun to testify in the case via a video link from Russia.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Kovtun could not give evidence to a British court in the current legal proceedings via a video link because "such questioning would contradict the current international treaties between Russia and the UK in the sphere of legal assistance and police cooperation, and also the Russian legislation on criminal procedure."

"The relevant Russian agencies notified the 'public investigation' administration about that in a timely manner," the ministry said.

The Russian Foreign Ministry believes that by ignoring these arguments and dictating "its rules" the British authorities still began a video conference session and then hastily made ungrounded accusations against the Russian authorities, saying they for some reason they had not resolved in a timely manner the issue of exempting Kovtun of his duty not to disclose information held by Russian investigators for the purposes of the said video conference, while the latter should never have been conducted in principle.

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