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Liow: MH17 perpetrators could be charged by end of the year

PUTRAJAYA: The suspects in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 could be prosecuted by the end of the year, said Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai (pic).

The Transport Minister said the MH17 Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has questioned over 200 individuals and examined large amounts of data, and expressed confidence that the suspects will be brought to trial.

"Over 200 people have been questioned, and millions of messages, phone calls and such have been analysed. We are confident that with all this data, we can charge the perpetrators by the end of this year or early next year.

"We also want the person who launched the missile to come forward and tell us what happened on that day.

"This was a tragic incident and we will ensure we can claim justice for the family members of the victims," said Liow to reporters after attending a memorial service in conjunction with the third anniversary of the MH17 tragedy.

At a closed-door meeting, Liow briefed the next-of-kin of the investigation's progress.

"We also conveyed the Government's decision to allow national prosecution on the suspects through the Dutch legal system," said Liow.

Liow added that some of the family members of those killed in the tragedy would be flying to the Netherlands to attend a memorial service there on July 17.

Also present were Malaysia Airlines Berhad (MAB) chairman Tan Sri Md Nor Md Yusof and MAB chief executive officer Peter Bellew.

On July 17, 2014, MH17 which was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam was shot down by a missile while flying over eastern Ukraine.

All 283 passengers and 15 crewmembers perished.

Initial investigations by the Dutch Safety Board concluded in 2015 that the Boeing 777 was shot down by a Russian-made ground-to-air rocket.

Malaysia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia and Ukraine have agreed that the suspects should be tried in the Netherlands.