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The UK public inquiry into the death of former Russian FSB secret service agent Alexander Litvinenko violates the right to the presumption of innocence by assigning blame to the alleged perpetrators, a senior Russian lawmaker said Thursday.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The chairman of the inquiry, Robert Owen, released a report last week that identified Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun as Litvinenko's killers. Both have denied any involvement in the 2006 death, which has been attributed to poisoning using radioactive Polonium-210. The chairman of Russia's upper house’s Constitutional Law Committee, Andrei Klishas, told RIA Novosti that under English law a public inquiry only examines the cause of death and cannot assign blame, which is done during a criminal investigation.
"Such public inquiries are only allowed to draw up recommendations, which can serve as guidelines for relevant authorities during the criminal process," Klishas said. "In other words, Sir Robert Owen took the liberty of blaming people."
Klishas said this ran counter to a number of international laws that guarantee the presumption of innocence, including Article 11 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Article 6 of the 1950 Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms; and Article 14 of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Following the publication of Owen’s report into his year-long investigation, the Russian Foreign Ministry accused it of lack of transparency and attempts to politicize Litvinenko's death.
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