MH17 defendants face life in prison

The maximum penalty for the defendants in the case of the crash of Malaysian Boeing MH17 in the Donbass in July 2014 is life imprisonment, said the representative of the Dutch prosecutor's office, Digna van Butzelar, as quoted by UNN news agency.

The four suspects are charged with two counts: the downing of flight MH17, which resulted in the deaths of all persons on board (Article 168 of the Netherlands Criminal Code), and the murder of 298 people on board flight MH17 (Article 289 of the Netherlands Criminal Code).

Also, the prosecutor's office of the Netherlands believes that the target of the militants who shot down the MH17 airliner was a plane of the Ukrainian Air Force.

The trial of 4 persons suspected of downing the MH17 Boeing started in the Netherlands on Monday, March 9.

On July 17, 2014, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down near the city of Shakhtarsk in Ukraine’s Donetsk region. All crew members and passengers were killed, a total of 298 people, including 80 children.

At a press conference in The Hague in May 2018, nearly four years later, the JIT presented fragments of the missile used to shoot down the plane. The Buk system from which the missile was fired belonged to the 53rd anti-air missile brigade of the Russian Armed Forces, which is based in Kursk.

In June 2019, the JIT released the names of four suspects in the MH17 case: The three Russian citizens Sergey “Gloomy” Dubinsky, Oleg “Caliph” Pulatov and Igor “Strelkov” Girkin, and the Ukrainian citizen Leonid “Mole” Kharchenko. Former DPR militant Vladimir Tsemakh was later also declared a suspect, but Ukraine handed him over to Russia as part of a prisoner exchange.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) announced that the defendants are suspected of committing “a terrorist act which lead to human deaths”.

After five years of investigation, the JIT has established the exact time and route taken by the Buk anti-air missile system from Russia to Ukraine and back, the time and place where the fatal missile was fired, and obtained information about more than 150 people who were involved in the transportation of the Buk.

  MH17, Russia, Donbas, Netherlands, Ukraine