Russia was responsible for the 2001 assassination of Alexander Litvinenko, a former KGB officer in London, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has found.
Litvinenko, a former Russian spy who was an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin and moved to Britain, died in London in 2000 after being poisoned by a rare radioactive substance.
A public inquiry in the UK in 2011 found that two Russian men – Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun – had deliberately poisoned Litvinenko by drinking polonium-210 at a hotel in Litwen, which led to his tragic death.
The British investigation, led by former High Court judge Sir Robert Wayne, concluded that the assassination was “probably” carried out with Putin’s approval.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the European Court said it had found that “there was a precedent that Mr. Litvinenko, Mr. Lugovoy and Mr. Kavtun were acting agents of the Russian state.”
The court noted that the Russian government “failed to provide any other satisfactory and credible explanation of the events or to address the findings of the UK investigation.”
The court found no evidence that any person had a personal reason for killing Litvinenko and could not enter the substance “if they acted on their own.” State involvement is the “only remaining rational explanation,” the study said.
Russian authorities have always denied any involvement in Litvinenko’s death. Britain has not been able to prosecute Russia for refusing to hand over the suspects.
Marina, the widow of Litvinenko, who took the case to the ECHR, said after the verdict that it was a “very important day” because the investigations highlighted Russia’s “brutal regime.”
“It’s important that Russia takes responsibility,” he told Sky News. “We must not give up the fight against this anti-democratic regime in Russia.”
Dmitry Dedov, a Russian judge sitting on the ECHR panel, disagreed with six of his colleagues on the court’s original inquiry.
“I have found many deficiencies in the British investigation and analysis by the courts that raise reasonable doubts about the involvement of suspects in the poisoning and whether they are acting as agents of the state,” he said.
The court ordered Russia to pay Marina Litvinenko 100,000 euros ($ 117,000) in damages and 22,500 euros in costs.
Marina Litvinenko said she did not know if she would be paid, but she still hopes to bring those responsible for her husband’s death to justice in the UK.
PA and Reuters contributed to this report.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times