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    Litvinenko case hearings should be open, Russian embassy says

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    Hearings on the death of former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko should be open for the public and media, the Russian embassy in London said in a statement on Tuesday.

    Hearings on the death of former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko should be open for the public and media, the Russian embassy in London said in a statement on Tuesday.

    "Taking into account the importance of the inquest for the overall state of Russia-U.K. relations and the obvious need to establish the truth about Alexander Litvinenko's death, we believe that only public hearing of the case can give a guarantee of impartial consideration of this case," the embassy said.

    Litvinenko, a former KGB officer and outspoken critic of then-president Vladimir Putin, died in November 2006 in a London hospital, presumably after being poisoned with the radioactive substance polonium-210. A court in London is to begin hearings to establish Litvinenko's cause of death on Thursday.

    "The Russian side has learnt with disappointment that the pre-inquest review hearing regarding the death of Russian citizen Alexander Litvinenko, scheduled for 13 October 2011 at St Pancras Coroner's Court, will be closed for the public and media, thus making it impossible for Russian media and the Russian Embassy's representatives to attend," the statement reads.

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