Russia slams UK's extradition request as flawed

Russian prosecutor on Monday hit back at British claims that Moscow was blocking efforts to extradite murder suspect Andrei Lugovoy, saying British investigation was flawed, hasty and politicized, according to media reports Tuesday.

Russia slams UK's extradition request as flawed
Russian prosecutor on Monday hit back at British claims that Moscow was blocking efforts to extradite murder suspect Andrei Lugovoy, saying British investigation was flawed, hasty and politicized, according to media reports Tuesday.

"There is no evidence in the materials provided by Britain that there was an objective investigation" of the murder case by Scotland Yard, Russian Deputy Prosecutor General Alexander Zvyagintsev told a news conference. "The Russian side has more grounds to doubt the objectivity of the British justice system."

Russia this month formally rejected Britain's request that it extradite Lugovoy, a former KGB officer, who is accused of using the radioactive substance polonium-210 to kill Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian internal security agent and critic of President Vladimir Putin in London in November.

Litvinenko, who fled Russia in 2000, was a British citizen at the time of his death.

The murder of Litvinenko has brought relations between Britain and Moscow to their lowest point since the end of the Cold War.

London earlier this month expelled four Russian diplomats in protest at Moscow's refusal to extradite Lugovoi. In a tit-for-tat response, Moscow threw out four British diplomats.

Britain's decision to expel the diplomats was "plainly groundless, inappropriate, unjustified and lies exclusively in a political framework," said Zvyagintsev. "We refused extradition on the basis of the law."

Russia contended that its constitution bars the extradition of its citizens. Zvyagintsev said Monday that even without such a rule, the evidence Britain provided would have fallen far short.

"I do not think our friends should criticize our justice system. I think their efforts would be better spent improving their own system," said Alexander Zvyagintsev.

Britain has not released the evidence it assembled to build a case against Lugovoy. Nor have its officials said how much material was forwarded to Moscow to press the extradition claim. It is unclear, for example, if isotope analysis in Britain has established the original source of the polonium used to kill Litvinenko.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Temmuz 2007, 15:28
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