03/04/2007

Campaign launched in memory of Alexander Litvinenko

A campaign has been launched by the widow and friends of murdered former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in his name.

The Litvinenko Justice Foundation aims to put pressure on both the British and Russian governments to find those responsible for Mr Litvinenko's death.

A letter has been sent from the foundation to Prime Minister Tony Blair, Home Secretary John Reid and Attorney General Lord Goldsmith asking for reassurance that any suspects in the murder would stand trial in the UK.

Louise Christian, the lawyer for Marina, Mr Litvinenko's widow, has called for a meeting with the Crown Prosecution Service and indicated that they may go to the European Courts of Justice and the United Nations.

Mrs Litvinenko, his close friend Alex Goldfarb and Russian billionaire Boris Berezovsky set up the foundation.

Mr Litvinenko, a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, died in hospital last November after being poisoned with radioactive substance polonium-210.

His death sparked a major police investigation and traces of the substance were found in several locations in London.

Before his death, Mr Litvinenko accused President Putin of ordering his fatal poisoning.

However, the claims were denied by the Kremlin.

Speaking at the launch of the foundation in Whitehall, Mrs Litvinenko said: "I will not rest until Sasha's killers are brought to justice."

Mr Berezovsky said that hoped that the foundation would prevent "the same terror attack" from happening in the future.

He also said that the foundation would seek compensation for anyone who had suffered psychological, physical or material harm in the case.

The self-exiled tycoon was questioned himself about Mr Litvinenko's death by Russian officials in the presence of British detectives last week.

(KMcA/SP)

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