06 December, 2006

Litvinenko: Uncooperative Russians

The team of 9 Scotland Yard detectives, with support staff, currently in Moscow in pursuit of the killers of Alexander Litvinenko, has plenty of opportunities for sightseeing.

According to the Times, Russia is demanding the return of some of Putin's exiled enemies in the UK, as the price of cooperation in the Yard's inquiry.

The Daily Telegraph reports the imposition of two conditions on the British police inquiry: only Russian prosecutors will question suspects, the Yard team will only be allowed to watch and listen; and there will be no extradition from Russia to the UK.

The Independent, notes that British authorities have repeatedly refused to extradite wanted Russians and, "It seems Moscow is in no mood to help now the boot is on the other foot."

There we have it. PC Plod blundering around outside his jurisdiction, being told by the legal authorities to mind his own business. An entirely predictable farce which should surprise nobody with even a superficial knowledge of the murky world of Russian politics. The intriguing questions are: did the Foreign Office advise Scotland Yard against the trip; and did senior officers at Scotland Yard bother to find out what sort of response they were likely to get in Russia?

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