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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Parliamentarian Lugovoi

Well, as if any further proof that Andrei Lugovoy is dirty were needed, now comes news that he's the beloved of Vladimir Zhirinovsky. Apparently the Kremlin has decided that the best way to obstruct the British investigation into the killing of Alexander Litvinenko is to put Lugovoy into the parliament, where he'll be totally immune from prosecution. It's pretty clear, given this move, that the Kremlin understands how totally bogus it's claim is that the constitution forbids Lugovoy's extradition; clearly, they know they need a backup plan. Reuters reports:

The Russian wanted by Britain on suspicion of killing Alexander Litvinenko is to stand as a leading candidate for the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic Party in parliamentary elections in December. Former intelligence officer Andrei Lugovoy would receive immunity from prosecution as a member of parliament were the LDPR party to receive the minimum 7 percent of the vote required to enter the state Duma. Britain wants to try Lugovoy for the murder of Litvinenko, who died an agonising death in a London hospital last November after receiving a dose of radioactive polonium-210. The two men met each other on the day Litvinenko fell ill.

LDPR party head Vladimir Zhirinovsky revealed that Lugovoy was his candidate in an interview on Saturday with Moscow regional television's Channel 3. His appointment as No. 2 on the LDPR's list of candidates is expected to be confirmed when the party publishes its election list on Monday. Zhirinovsky, a political veteran know for his outspoken nationalist views, told Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper in an interview this month he expected his party to win at least 20 percent of the vote in the parliamentary elections.

Lugovoy was not immediately reachable for comment as his mobile phone was switched off. He has previously said Britain's accusations against him were part of a smear campaign by enemies of the Kremlin and British secret services to discredit Russia. Britain has sought to bring Lugovoy to trial in London, but Russia has refused the demand, saying its constitution does not allow the extradition of its citizens. Russian prosecutors said earlier this year that they could prosecute Luguvoy themselves if Britain provided enough evidence of his guilt. Britain and Russia expelled four diplomats each this year in the dispute over tracking down Litvinenko's killers. Relations between Moscow and London have been further strained by Britain's hosting of anti-Kremlin emigres wanted by Russia, including Boris Berezovsky.

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