Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Poison Letter

The Telegraph writes about the letter sent by the Kremlin to Britain’s foreign secretary “protesting” about the British government’s “failure” to prevent the publication of the contents of Alexander Litvinenko’s deathbed statement, in which he blamed Putin for his murder.

The implication of the Russian protest, that Britain could have gagged Mr Litvinenko, caused fury yesterday.

Dr Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, told The Daily Telegraph: “In Britain, people are still free to speak, which is a lesson that seemingly needs to be learnt in Mr Putin’s Russia.

“At first glance, it [the Russian protest] is an outrage. But on a deeper aspect, it is symptomatic of a state that does not understand any longer the concept of free speech.”

Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, the former head of the Joint Intelligence Committee, joined the criticism, calling the Kremlin letter “absolute bloody cheek, frankly”.

She added: “The other thing I would say is that this is the playing out of Russian politics on our soil and it’s absolutely unacceptable.”

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