Russia formally rejects UK extradition request of Litvinenko poisoning suspect

Russia formally rejects UK extradition request of Litvinenko poisoning suspect

[JURIST] Russian officials with the Office of the Prosecutor-General [official website, in Russian] have formally denied a British extradition request [JURIST report] for Andrei Lugovoy [JURIST news archive] on the grounds that the Russian constitution forbids the extradition of its citizens [MFA statement] for alleged crimes committed abroad, Interfax reported Thursday. Lugovoy is wanted [JURIST report] by Britain's Crown Prosecution Service for his alleged role in the poisoning-murder of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko [BBC profile; BBC timeline].

Russian Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika has said he will try Lugovoy in Russian courts if presented with ample evidence of guilt. The Office of the Prosecutor-General has also dismissed suggestions [JURIST report] that Lugovoy could be extradited to the UK in exchange for alleged coup plotter Boris Berezovsky [JURIST news archive]. Litvinenko and Lugovoy, both former employees of the Russian state security agency, the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation [official website, in Russian], met on November 1, 2006, hours before Litvinenko fell ill of radioactive poisoning from polonium-210 [CDC backgrounder]. Litvinenko died on November 26. AP has more. Interfax has additional coverage.