Embassy Press Officer replies to a media question regarding Charlie Rowley’s intention to sue the Russian Government

Question: How would you comment on the plans by Charlie Rowley, a victim of the Amesbury poisonings, to initiate judicial proceedings against the Russian authorities?

Answer: As far as we understand, these plans are at a very preliminary stage. A lawsuit specifically against the Russian Government is but one of the options considered by Mr Rowley’s lawyers.

For our part, we fully share Charlie’s desire to establish truth regarding his poisoning that also resulted in the death of his partner Dawn Sturgess. Mr Rowley is seeking clarity over the “unanswered questions”, which is, incidentally or not, the title of the Embassy’s own report https://rusemb.org.uk/fnapr/6762 with questions https://www.rusemb.org.uk/fnapr/6909 to the British authorities. A number of those are directly linked to Mr Rowley’s poisoning: where and when did he find the bottle allegedly containing a nerve agent; where had that bottle been between March and June; was that bottle linked to the Salisbury incident, and if so, why was it found in Amesbury sealed and unassembled?

As one can easily see, answers to these questions are to be provided by British rather than Russian authorities. So far, Russia has not succeeded in getting any from the UK government, while British MPs and media are not even trying to do so. In these conditions, it is only natural for Mr Rowley to seek truth in courts. By keeping the victim uninformed of the circumstances of his poisoning, the UK is quite obviously violating his human rights, first and foremost the right to a fair trial as enshrined in the European Convention.

As regards a hypothetical lawsuit against Russia, let us recall that, under the principle of sovereign equality, the Russian state is not subject to jurisdiction of the British state, and vice versa. For its part, the Russian legal system has been, from day one, prepared to fulfil its duties with regard to the poisoning of two Russian nationals in Salisbury, but has been precluded from doing so by a stubborn refusal of any cooperation by the British side.

22 September 2019, 15:35