Dutch verdict: life imprisonment after MH17 shooting down

Status: 11/17/2022 4:17 p.m

Eight years after the downing of passenger flight MH17 over Ukraine, a Dutch court has sentenced two Russians and a Ukrainian to life imprisonment for murder. Another accused was acquitted.

A Dutch criminal court has found three former senior pro-Russian separatists guilty of shooting down passenger flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014, killing 298. A Ukrainian and two Russians were sentenced to life imprisonment. A fourth defendant was acquitted for lack of evidence.

Tobias Reckmann, ARD Brussels, currently Badhoevedorp/Netherlands, on the verdict on the downing of flight MH17

Tagesschau 4:00 p.m., 17.11.2022

The four men are not in the Netherlands and had refused to appear in court in the case, which has been ongoing since March 2020. The convicts are the two Russians Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinsky and the Ukrainian Leonid Chartschenko. The Russian Oleg Pulatov, who was also accused, was acquitted.

Presiding Judge Hendrik Steenhuis said the evidence presented by the prosecutor showed that a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was crashed on July 17, 2014 by a Buk missile fired by pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine was brought. The court also noted that as of May 2014, the conflict region in eastern Ukraine and the rebels were effectively under Russian control.

Russia denies involvement in the downing

According to the prosecution, the anti-aircraft system that destroyed the Boeing was brought to Ukraine from a Russian base near Kursk and transported back to Russia after a defense missile was launched. Russia denies any involvement in the downing.

The trial was conducted in the Netherlands because most of those killed came from there. Several hundred relatives were present at the hearing of the verdict near Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. The court met under high security precautions.

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