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Litvinenko Coroner Rejects 3 Anonymity Requests, Upholds 1

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The coroner in the UK inquest into the 2006 death of former Russian Federal Security Service agent Alexander Litvinenko said on Wednesday he had rejected three anonymity requests for witnesses and upheld one.

MOSCOW, July 18 (RIA Novosti) - The coroner in the UK inquest into the 2006 death of former Russian Federal Security Service agent Alexander Litvinenko said on Wednesday he had rejected three anonymity requests for witnesses and upheld one.

Sir Robert Owen declined the request by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) for witnesses known as D1, D2 and C1. A fourth witness, known as A3, will remain anonymous on a request from the Atomic Weapons Establishment.

The applications for anonymity made by the MPS on behalf of D1, D2 and C1 are refused for the reasons to be set out in an addendum to this ruling which at this case will be closed.” Owen said in a statement. “In the case of A3 there will be an order for anonymity and screening for the reasons set out in my closed ruling.”

Identities of three witnesses, however, may still remain a secret unless their evidence is discussed in court or they are asked to appear in person.

Litvinenko, a 43-year-old former FSB officer, turned critic of the Kremlin and moved from Russia to Britain in 2000 where he claimed asylum. He was poisoned with the toxic radioactive isotope Polonium-210 in London in 2006, days after he was granted UK citizenship.

Last week, the British government refused a request to hold a public inquiry into Litvinenko’s death to replace the lower-level inquest currently underway. Owen requested an inquiry in May, after he reluctantly upheld an order by the UK Foreign Office to keep crucial evidence in the case secret because it contained information vital to national security.

A public inquiry, unlike an inquest, can receive evidence behind closed doors. In this case it would mean that evidence involving matters of national security can be received by the court.

 

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