[JURIST] Russia's Office of the Prosecutor-General [official website, in Russian] Wednesday dismissed suggestions by a Russian lawmaker that Andrei Lugovoy [JURIST news archive], currently sought by Britain's Crown Prosecution Service (CRS) [official website] for the poisoning murder of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko [BBC profile; BBC timeline], could be extradited to the UK in exchange for Russian billionaire and alleged coup plotter Boris Berezovsky [JURIST news archive], now living in the UK. The Russian government has thusfar refused to extradite Lugovoy on the grounds that Russia's constitution forbids the extradition of its citizens [MFA statement] for alleged crimes committed abroad. Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika has said he will try Lugovoy in Russian courts if presented with ample evidence of guilt.
Last Tuesday, the CRS announced it had found sufficient evidence to charge [press release; JURIST report] Lugovoy with murder, and on Tuesday the United Kingdom formally requested Lugovoy's extradition [JURIST report]. Litvinenko and Lugovoy, both former employees of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB) [official website, in Russian], the successor body to the KGB, met on November 1, 2006, hours before Litvinenko fell ill to radioactive poisoning from polonium-210 [CDC backgrounder]. The request for Lugovoy's extradition comes at a period of increasingly tense relations between the United Kingdom and Russia [JURIST news archives]. In April, a Russian lawmaker repeated calls for the United Kingdom to end its grant of political asylum [JURIST report] for Berezovsky. AP has more.