Thursday, December 07, 2006

Spy saga - Litvinenko funeral due today

Blocked - investigation is being hampered by Russian authorities

Alexander Litvinenko’s funeral takes place today a day after the announcement that the killing had officially become a murder inquiry [CNN / BBC]. In Moscow, British detectives continue their investigation into the poisoning but have been told that any prosecutions would have t take place on Russian soil. As the detectives arrived in the capital news footage on CNN obscured the faces of the British investigators. However both Sky and the BBC, as well as many newspapers in the UK, published images without any censorship. It is not clear why CNN made the decision to obscure the faces of the investigators. Several new locations have been found to show traces of radioactivity as the detective work continues. In London traces of radioactivity were found at the Arsenal Emirate’s Stadium. The executive box was sealed off following the revelation that Andrei Lugovoi had visited there. Luguvoi who had met with Litvinenko in London, and having since returned to Russia, was said to be ill and had been hospitalised. Prior to his admission to hospital, Andrei Lugovoi visited the British Embassy in Moscow in order to give a statement. This was an effort to thwart rumours that he may have had a hand in Mr Litvinenko’s death. The British Embassy has also shown signs of radioactivity, the BBC reported Wednesday afternoon. Mario Scaramella was also hospitalised for a time after it was discovered that he too had ‘significant amounts’ of Polonium 210 in his urine. However he was later discharged after showing no signs of illness. CNN secured an exclusive interview with the self styled academic prior to his release from hospital. "I received several e-mails from another source he [Litvinenko] introduced to me some years before, saying that him and me were under the special attention of hostile people, so to take care," Scaramella told the news organisation. He said he tried to warn Litvinenko that they were being targeted by "people linked with some clandestine organizations, not directly under control of Russian establishment but from Russia ... generally retired people from the security service." Meanwhile detectives in Russia have been given permission to question Andrei Lugovoi [BBC]. But it is likely that their role will be limited to observing an interview conducted by Russion authorities. Lugovoi, a former KGB bodyguard, has said he met with Mr Litvinenko but did not meet no even know Mr Scaramella.

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