05 December, 2006

The Yard in Moscow

Scotland Yard detectives have arrived in Moscow to investigate the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, the former KGB man killed for criticising the Russian authorities. According to the Guardian, the detectives want,

to interview around five potential witnesses: three Russian businessmen who were among the last to see Mr Litvinenko before he was taken ill - and who have repeatedly protested their innocence - and two others not publicly been identified.
They have begun, the Times says, by asking to speak to Mikhail Trepashkin, another former spy, who had previously warned that Litvinenko's life was in danger from the FSB (the KGB, as was). Mr Trepashkin is currently a guest of the Russian government in a top security prison where he is serving four years for betraying state secrets.

Even if the Yard does get its man, there is little chance of him ever being extradited. Russia does not do extradition. The Guardian link, above, has a good, straightforward analysis of the political and legal complexities likely to be involved in any extradition request.

In the Independent Anna Penketh has been getting the Kremlin's view of the case from Putin's spokesman.

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