Britain to charge Lugovoi for murder of Litvinenko, calls for extradition

Andrei LugovoiThe British Director for Public Prosecutions today announced that he intended to charge Andrei Lugovoi with the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, and called for him to be extradited from Russia:

I have today concluded that the evidence sent to us by the police is sufficient to charge Andrey Lugovoy with the murder of Mr Litvinenko by deliberate poisoning.

“I have further concluded that a prosecution of this case would clearly be in the public interest.

“In those circumstances, I have instructed CPS lawyers to take immediate steps to seek the early extradition of Andrey Lugovoy from Russia to the United Kingdom, so that he may be charged with murder – and be brought swiftly before a court in London to be prosecuted for this extraordinarily grave crime.”

The problem with this, of course, is that Russian law specifically prohibits extradition, and the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office seems distinctly unimpressed by today’s statement:

“Under the Russian Constitution, Russian citizens cannot be extradited to be tried abroad. Lugovoi is a Russian citizen.”

As far as I can see, the only way in which Lugovoi is going to stand trial for Litvinenko’s murder in the United Kingdom is if he voluntarily gives himself up.  And, realistically, the only way that is going to happen is with the Russian government’s support.

But Russia is almost certain to link any movement on Lugovoi  to a renewed request for the extradition of Boris Berezovsky, the ‘rogue’ billionaire living in London who is, by his own admission, plotting a “coup” against the current Russian government.   

The British courts have already rejected one Russian request for Berezovksy’s extradition, though, and the chances of that decision being reversed are slim. 

So, instead of a court case, we instead face the prospect of an increasingly bitter war of words between the British and Russian governments.

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8 Responses

  1. mait says:

    On a completely and utterly unrelated note: Russia applies pressure on BP.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6677237.stm

  2. copydude says:

    Well, I’ve just blogged my comment. It’s basically a cover up. Of course Lugovoi won’t be extradited, neither will Berezovsky be swapped and therefore no relevant facts will ever come to trial.

    Litvinenko – a traitor, wannabee Jihadist, MI6 dirty trickster – was just into too many wobblies for any of it to be made public.

    Interesting that the ‘right of centre’ UK Daily Pundit is thinking along the same lines. “I don’t blame the CSP – it would all cause such a fuss.”

    Best comment of the day.

  3. Andy says:

    Yeah, it is quite convenient in the sense that the British government will be seen to be acting, but with the added bonus that there is unlikely to ever be an actual trial.

    And it gives the British government a nice stick with which to bash the Kremlin when it feels it appropriate.

  4. I am surprised that the majority of bloggers are taking the Prosecutor General’s statement on extradition at face value – a closer look at the Russian constitution is worthwhile in this case.

    http://www.robertamsterdam.com/2007/05/weighing_in_on_the_lugovoi_ext.htm

    Regards,
    Robert Amsterdam

  5. Aleks says:

    I’m sure that whilst breaking out the chocolate digestives at the COBRA meeting to about how to milk the Livinenko saga for all it is worth, someone mentioned it would be a good time to announce a rapid expansion of the nation’s nuclear power stations via the styming of environmental legislation, bypassing this on ‘national security’ grounds, a.k.a. the ‘energy blackmail biscuit’.

    To be fair, the evidence for a regeneration of the nuclear power industry has been evident for at least the last couple of years, but if the opportunity arises, why not take it. It will be interesting what else the UK and other european governments will try to fast stream thought their respective legistlatives by scaring the pants off those self-same legistators.

    I expect ‘Psyco’ Sarko to be the most bullish with regards to russia as the vast majority of its electricity is generated by nuclear power (another thing they got right along with their ‘Force de Frappe Nucléaire’ (thanks de Gaulle me thinks), but OTOH we read that france has inked an agreement with russia to launch russian satellites at french kourou (instead of the much less efficient plesetsk) etc. etc. so regardless of all the exciting press, as long as all the high-tech investment and cooperation with russia is continuing, there’s really not much need to get excited as this is the first on the block when relations get really strung out… Anybody mention sanctions? Nope, thought not.

    Back to the ‘Litter Tray’ thing (it’s a pile of cat cr*p IMHO), the only way I can see this being sustained in the british media is a sustained drip drip drip of eff-the-record official views and info from the CPS file. But as much as everyone likes the Putin = Ernst Stavro Blofeld (minus white cat with diamond choker), I think the media is already too aware of the kulture of zpin by the current government though I’m not to sure about the MPs as the UK as just recently I’ve read that it’s become a net importer of oil.

    To quote my favorite line from Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, “strange things are afoot at the cercle k dude”…

  6. Citpeks says:

    Robert, you are hell of a trashy lower….
    or it’s just the nature of any lower to twist and lie but win a case?

    Article 61 leaves no chance for interpretations:
    ————
    Article 61.

    1. The citizen of the Russian Federation may not be deported out of Russia or extradited to another state.
    2. The Russian Federation shall guarantee its citizens defense and patronage beyond its boundaries.
    ———–

    Article 63 is concerned with *non-russian citizens*:
    ——-
    Article 63.

    1. The Russian Federation shall grant political asylum to foreign citizens and stateless citizens in conformity with the commonly recognized norms of the international law.
    2. The extradition of persons persecuted for their political views or any actions (or inaction), which are not qualified as criminal by the law of the Russian Federation, to other states shall not be allowed in the Russian Federation. The extradition of persons charged with crimes and also the hand-over of convicts for serving time in other countries shall be effected on the basis of the federal law or international treaty of the Russian Federation.
    ————-

  1. May 22, 2007

    […] Lugovoi has been charged with the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. The trick? Russia’s constitution forbids […]

  2. May 22, 2007

    […] Lugovoi has been charged with the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. The trick? Russia’s constitution forbids […]