Litvinenko widow's inquiry bid 'running out of money'

4th October 2013, Comments 0 comments

The widow of murdered Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko broke down in tears Friday as she told a British court she was running out of money in her quest for a public inquiry.

Marina Litvinenko, whose ex-spy husband was killed with radioactive poison in London in 2006, wept as she told the High Court she could lose "almost everything" if she continued her legal battle with the British government, which has ruled out a judge-led public inquiry into the death.

"I really want to get the truth," she told reporters. "I absolutely cannot just give this up."

Her lawyer Elena Tsirlina urged Britons to help fund the court case.

"We are asking the people of this country for money," she said.

The legal case could cost Marina Litvinenko at least £40,000 ($64,000, 47,000 euros), she said.

The British government ruled out a full judge-led inquiry in July, admitting that the decision was influenced by fears that it could damage relations with Russia.

Marina Litvinenko claims her husband, a former agent in Russia's FSB agency, was killed on Moscow's orders and was working for Britain's foreign intelligence service MI6 at the time of his slow and agonising death.

He was poisoned with radioactive polonium-210 while drinking tea at a London hotel.

British police have sought the arrest of two Russian nationals in relation to the death -- Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun -- but Moscow has refused to hand them over.

British coroner Robert Owen had sought a full public inquiry after complaining that his own lower-level inquest -- which is yet to begin -- was hamstrung because he was not allowed to review secret evidence about possible Kremlin involvement in the murder.

Marina Litvinenko has told judges she will make a decision by Monday on whether to continue her bid for judicial review of the government's ban on a public inquiry.


© 2013 AFP

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