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Crime: Extradition

Volume 694: debated on Wednesday 25 July 2007

asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Whether the Written Answer by Lord Rooker on 3 July (WA 169) that “it is Government policy to neither confirm nor deny whether an extradition request has been or is in the process of being made” is compatible with the statements made by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs concerning the extradition from Russia of Mr Andrei Lugovoy in connection with the murder of Mr Alexander Litvinenko. [HL4920]

On 22 May, Sir Ken Macdonald QC, the Director of Public Prosecutions, made the following statement: “I have today concluded that the evidence sent to us by the police is sufficient to charge Andrey Lugovoy with the murder of Mr Litvinenko by deliberate poisoning. I have further concluded that a prosecution of this case would clearly be in the public interest. In those circumstances, I have instructed Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) lawyers to take immediate steps to seek the early extradition of Andrey Lugovoy from Russia to the United Kingdom, so that he may be charged with murder—and be brought swiftly before a court in London to be prosecuted for this extraordinarily grave crime”.

On 10 July, the CPS issued the following press release: “The CPS has received the formal response from the Russian authorities to its request that Andrey Lugovoy be extradited for the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. The Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Ken Macdonald, QC, said: ‘The Russian response has now been conveyed to us and the Russian authorities have declined to extradite Andrey Lugovoy. They have said that they are prepared to put Mr Lugovoy on trial in Russia if the evidence is forwarded to them. The allegation against Mr Lugovoy is that he murdered a British citizen by deliberate poisoning and that he committed this extraordinarily grave crime here in our capital city. The appropriate venue for his trial is therefore London’”.

Given the exceptionally serious nature of Mr Litvinenko’s murder, it was right that my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary should give a full account to Parliament of what action the Government have taken and are taking. The substance of this account was in part drawn from the public statements issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions. In this context, I refer the noble Lord to the Statement of my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary in another place on 16 July (Official Report, Commons, cols. 21-22).