Dutch prosecutors on Wednesday demanded life sentences for four suspects in the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014. At that moment, all 298 passengers and crew were killed using a Russian missile. The trial is being held in the Netherlands at a high security courtroom near Schiphol Airport because nearly 200 of those on board were Dutch citizens. Prosecutors accuse Russians Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinskiy and Igor Pulatov as well as Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko, who were separatist rebels fighting Ukrainian government forces in 2014, of forming a team that aimed to bring down Ukrainian planes. Girkin and Dubinskiy were senior separatist rebels while Pulatov and Kharchenko were their direct subordinates.The suspects are being tried in absentia. They refused to appear in court.“The downing of MH17 with a Buk missile brutally ended the lives of all 298 people on board. Incredibly deep and irreversible suffering has been caused to the next of kin,” public prosecutor Manon Ridderbeks told. He made the sentence demand at the end of a three-day presentation of evidence.
“Together they are responsible for the deployment of the Buk telar used to shoot down flight MH17,” prosecutors said in a written summary. International investigators say the BUK missile was originally brought from a Russian military base. Life sentences are rare in the Netherlands but in this case was considered the extreme nature of the crime. Verdicts aren’t expected until September next year at the earliest.