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British Coroner: Government Rejected Litvinenko Public Inquiry

Aleksandr Litvinenko died in London in 2006 from polonium poisoning.
A British coroner says authorities have turned down his request to hold a public inquiry into the killing of former Russian spy Aleksandr Litvinenko.

The former Russian security officer and anti-Kremlin dissident died in London in 2006 from polonium poisoning.

Coroner Robert Owen made the announcement on July 12 shortly after being informed his request had been rejected.

Owen asked for a public hearing after ruling his own investigation was flawed because key evidence alleging Russian state involvement had to be kept secret on national security grounds.

Litvinenko, who is said to have been working for Britain's MI6 intelligence service at the time of his death, accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering his killing.

Moscow has repeatedly denied the charge.

British police identified former FSB agents Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun as the chief suspects.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and dpa