Person of the Week. Marina Litvinenko files claim against Russia at European Court of Human Rights

Week-ending 20 November 2020

Marina Litvinenko. Photo: Litvinenko Justice Foundation

Marina Litvinenko has submitted a claim to the European Court of Rights against Russia seeking €3.5m in compensation, including punitive damages and payment for lost income, for the murder of her husband, Aleksandr Litvinenko, murdered by poisoning with a polonium isotope in London in 2016.

The Guardian wrote on Sunday 15 November 2020: The widow of Alexander Litvinenko has submitted a claim against Russia to the European court of human rights (ECHR), seeking €3.5m (£3.1m) in compensation for his murder by radiation poisoning in London. Marina Litvinenko is requesting punitive damages and payment for accumulated lost income. A public inquiry concluded that her husband’s murder in 2006 was probably ordered by Vladimir Putin. The submission also asks the Strasbourg judges to rule on the significance of the pattern of targeted assassinations and attempted killings allegedly carried out by Russian state agents across Europe and the Middle East. Among the attacks listed are the 2018 poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury and the subsequent death of Dawn Sturgess after she handled a discarded container filled with the nerve agent novichok. Russia, like the UK, is a member of the Council of Europe, which oversees the ECHR. To date the court has never awarded punitive or exemplary damages. It is being urged to do so in the exceptional circumstances of this claim and to prevent Russia from continuing its policy of covert elimination.

In other news concerning the attempted assassination of Aleksei Navalny:

The Guardian, Monday, 16 November 2020: Western security agencies believe the Kremlin intended to kill the opposition leader Alexei Navalny and only failed to achieve the deadly goal because of quick thinking by first responders when he suddenly fell ill in August. The conclusion from lab tests is that Navalny was poisoned using a potentially milder strain of novichok than the one used in the Salisbury attack, pointing to an active chemical weapons programme in Russia capable of producing different variants of the poison. Diplomats from Britain, France and Germany are now working together to try to get the OPCW chemical weapons agency to formally declare that Russia was responsible at a plenary meeting, which starts at the end of the month. It is unclear if that effort will succeed, but European security agencies say in private there is “growing evidence” of Russian state involvement in the attack.

Meduza, Wednesday, 18 November 2020: The Investigative Department of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has refused to open a criminal case over opposition figure Alexey Navalny’s poisoning, as requested by lawyers from his non-profit, the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK). The FBK’s legal department reported the refusal on Wednesday, November 18, citing an official response from the FSB. The FBK’s lawyers had asked the FSB to launch a criminal investigation on charges of developing and producing chemical weapons, due to the fact that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed that Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok-type nerve agent. Under article 335 of Russia’s Criminal Code, this is punishable with between five and ten years in prison.

Leave a Reply