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Crash of flight MH17: families of victims demand accountability from Russia

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During the trial of four suspects tried in absentia in the Netherlands, the families of the victims of the plane downed in 2014 over Ukraine asked Russia on Monday to finally shed light on the circumstances of the tragedy.

An impossible mourning for the relatives of the 298 people killed in the crash of flight MH17. The families of the victims demanded justice from Russia, testifying Monday, September 6 in the trial of four suspects tried in the Netherlands in absentia.

Relatives of the victims of the crash of the Malaysian Airlines plane, which was shot down in 2014 over Ukraine, told the judges that they could not really grieve until those responsible were tried.

The international investigative team established in 2018 that the plane was shot down by a Russian missile over the area of ​​armed conflict with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, but Moscow has always denied with vehemently any involvement in the crash.

State lie

Ria van der Steen, who lost her father Jan and her stepmother Nell, quoted Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008): “They lie, we know they lie, they know that we know that they lie”.

“I am filled with feelings of revenge, hatred, anger and fear,” added the one who was the first to testify among the relatives of the victims.

“I know they are dead and I will not see them again, but I cannot stop this farewell process, certainly until those responsible for their deaths are convicted for what they did.”

The Australian Vanessa Rizk whose parents Albert and Maree had taken this flight after returning from vacation in Europe, those responsible “deserve to be punished for their acts of hatred”.

“How would the perpetrators feel if they were loved ones? How would (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and his corrupt Russian government respond to that?” Australia.

The Russians Sergei Dubinsky, Igor Guirkine and Oleg Poulatov, as well as the Ukrainian Leonid Khartchenko, four high-ranking pro-Russian separatists from eastern Ukraine, are being prosecuted by the Dutch prosecution for murder. Only Oleg Poulatov has a legal representative.

Being able to “look at yourself in a mirror”

Around 90 relatives, both of the 196 Dutch victims as well as Australian and Malaysian victims, are due to speak in court over the next few days.

In tears, Peter van der Meer told the court that he had lost “his life and his future” on the death of his three daughters Sophie, Fleur and Bente, aged 12, 10 and 7, respectively, as well as his ex -woman Ingrid.

“I hope the writers feel an urgency to speak out after the story I told you today, so that they can look at themselves in a mirror and don’t have to lie to their children. or grandchildren on what they did on July 17, 2014, “he said.

Robbert van Heijningen, who lost his brother Erik, his sister-in-law Tina and their son Zeger, 17, said the perpetrators knew “they were shooting at a vulnerable civilian airliner, like a clay pigeon” .

Sander Essers, whose brother Peter, sister-in-law Jolette Eusink and their two children Emma, ​​20, and Valentijn, 17, were killed in the crash, said his brother called him 20 minutes before departure of the flight “with a sense of apprehension.”

“I blame myself for not taking his premonition seriously. I’m making it sleepless nights,” Sander Essers said.

The main judge, Hendrik Steenhuis, chose September 22, 2022 as a possible date for the verdict but also gave other dates in November and December of that year.

With AFP

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