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Friday, 14 July 2017

MH17 families hope for justice

PUTRAJAYA: Three years on since the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, authorities and family members are still optimistic that justice will be served.

Having questioned hundreds of people and analysed data and ­evidence, the MH17 Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is almost ready to press charges against the perpetrators.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the JIT, comprising Malaysia, the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium and Ukraine, was confident of prosecution by the end of this year or early next year.

“Over 200 people have been questioned and millions of messages, phone calls and social media corres­pondences have been analysed.

“We 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 do all we can to ensure justice for the family members of the victims,” Liow told reporters after attending a memorial service for Malaysian family members here.

The programme to mark the third anniversary of the incident was held behind closed doors at a hotel here.

Liow briefed the next of kin on the progress of the investigation.

“We also conveyed the Government’s decision to allow national prosecution on the suspects to be dealt with under the Dutch legal system,” said Liow.

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

A family member of one of the victims, Md Salim Sarmo, 68, said they were hoping that justice would come soon as promised.

“They told us those responsible will be identified and brought to justice.

“We can only wait. We’ll leave it to the investigators. Hopefully, we’ll get the closure we want,” said the retiree, whose son Md Ali was among the passengers of the downed flight.

Md Ali was in his final year of his PhD studies in the Netherlands and was on his way back home for a holiday.

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 crew members perished. Forty-three of them were Malaysians.

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.

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