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Litvinenko Widow: Putin Ordered Murder

A lawyer for the widow of former KGB agent Aleksandr Litvinenko said on July 31 that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Litvinenko's murder and that Russian authorities have repeatedly obstructed an inquiry into the death.

Speaking on the final day of hearings at London’s Royal Courts of Justice as part of a British inquest, attorney Ben Emmerson said Litvinenko “had been identified as an enemy of [the Russian] state who had to be liquidated” because he was going to expose links between Putin and organized crime.

Emmerson said that is why Moscow has tried “to frustrate and manipulate” the investigation by refusing to cooperate and by raising objections and obstacles.

British police have accused two Russians -- Dimitry Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoi -- of carrying out the killing, sponsored by elements in the Kremlin.

Both deny involvement and Moscow refuses to extradite them.

The inquiry head, judge Robert Owen, plans to release his conclusions by the end of 2015.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, Al Jazeera