UK: International relations a factor in spy case

LONDON (AP) — The British government says international relations were a factor in its decision not to hold a public inquiry into the death of former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko.

Coroner Robert Owen had asked the government to hold a broad inquiry into the death of the KGB agent turned Kremlin critic, who died in London in 2006 after ingesting radioactive polonium-210.

Owen said an inquiry would be able to consider secret evidence to determine whether the Russian state was involved.

Last week Owen said the government had refused his request. In a letter published Friday, Home Secretary Theresa May spelled out her reasons, among them the cost.

She also said “it is true that international relations have been a factor in the government’s decision-making” — although not the deciding factor. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language, racial slurs or consistent name calling will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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