Experts: Culprits unlikely to be handed over

MH17 crash

KUALA LUMPUR: Six years have passed. The next of kin of those in the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 are still waiting for justice.

Since the downing of the civilian jetliner on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people on board including 15 crew members, the one lingering question is – why did it happen?

After nearly six years of research by global investigators, four defendants have gone on trial in March over the downing of the aircraft, international media reported.

Russians Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and Igor Girkin, as well as Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko – remain at large.

The trial was adjourned until Aug 31 to give the investigative judges time to hear more witnesses and to give the defence time to meet with Pulatov, the only one who has appointed a defence team, with the others being tried in absentia.

Aviation expert Prof Dr Mohd Harridon Mohamed Suffian said the ongoing trial of MH17 would be the platform for Malaysia to gain an in-depth insight into the tragedy.

The Universiti Kuala Lumpur test pilot said the suspects managed to convince the judge to allow several theories to be posed and scrutinised during the trial which could offer the families a glimpse of the truth.

“The trial seems to have taken a good viable approach by taking into account many technicalities, witness accounts and also several simulations were done on the tragedy.

“It is in our best interest and also the interest of the next of kin that this approach or trajectory is retained and if the perpetrators are found guilty, the punishment should be physically meted out to them rather than sentencing them in absentia,” Harridon said.

Another aviation expert, Capt Abdul Rahmat Omar Mohd Haniff hoped that the ongoing trial will shed more light on the final moments of the doomed flight.

“It does not seem as if any of the alleged perpetrators, other than Leonid Kharchenko, will be handed over to face justice,” he said. — Bernama

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