UK court quashes decision not to hold Litvinenko poisoning inquiry
LONDON, Feb 11 (Reuters) - The London High Court on Tuesday
quashed a decision by the British government not to hold a
Litvinenko, who died in London in 2006 after being poisoned with
a radioactive substance.
The court did not call for an inquiry to take place, but
said that Home Secretary Theresa May, the interior minister,
would have to reconsider the decision.
"If she is to maintain her refusal, she will need better
reasons than those given in the decision letter," wrote Lord
Justice Richards, handing down the unanimous judgment of three
High Court justices who considered the issue.
A Home Office spokesman said: "We are carefully considering
the judgment. The government continues to fully co-operate with
the coroner's inquest into Mr Litvinenko's death." The inquest
is separate from any public inquiry.
May said last July that she had taken into account the
interests of Britain's relations with Russia in deciding not to
order a public inquiry, but this had not been the main factor.
The Litvinenko poisoning has strained ties between London
and Moscow for years. Relations deteriorated to a post-Cold War
low after British police and prosecutors said there was enough
evidence to charge two former KGB agents. Russia denies any role
in the killing.
(Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; editing by Stephen Addison)