UK judge to hold secret hearing in Litvinenko case

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 27, 2013 at 11:57 am •  Published: February 27, 2013
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LONDON (AP) — A British judge said Wednesday that he will hold a secret hearing to assess whether some evidence about the death of former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko should be kept from the public.

Litvinenko, a Russian intelligence officer turned Kremlin critic, died in London in November 2006 after drinking tea spiked with the radioactive isotope polonium-210. His family says he was working for Britain's intelligence services, and believes the Russian state was behind his death.

Moscow authorities deny the claim, and refuse to extradite for trial two Russians identified by British authorities as the prime suspects in the killing.

Judge Robert Owen is due to oversee a coroner's inquest. Such inquests are held to determine the facts about violent or unexplained deaths.

Britain's government wants some evidence kept secret for national security reasons, a move opposed by Litvinenko's family and several media outlets.

A lawyer for Litvinenko's widow, Marina, complained Tuesday that the family and legal team do not even know what material the government wants to restrict.