Court finds 3 men guilty of murdering 298 people on board flight MH17

By Lisa James
Home » Court finds 3 men guilty of murdering 298 people on board flight MH17

Three soldiers in a pro-Russian separatist army have been convicted of murder over the deaths of 298 people onboard flight MH17.

A court in the Netherlands handed down life sentences – but the three men are still at large and are unlikely to go to prison.

The Malaysian Airlines flight, from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was shot down on 17 July 2014, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew members.

Two-thirds of passengers on the flight were Dutch. There were also 10 Britons, 43 Malaysian citizens, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians and residents of Belgium, Germany, Canada, New Zealand and the Philippines.

Russians Igor Girkin and Sergey Dubinskiy, and Ukrainian national Leonid Kharchenko were found guilty of 298 counts of murder and ‘unlawfully causing an airplane to crash’ by the Hague District Court at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam.

A fourth defendant, Oleg Pulatov, was acquitted after the court found he had no prior knowledge of the plan to fire the missile and did not have authority to overrule the order.

Compensation totalling £14m was awarded to victims’ families, many of whom were in court to hear the verdict.

After the verdict, UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverley tweeted: “Today’s guilty verdicts, convicting three individuals of murder in relation to the downing of MH17, is a landmark conviction and an important step towards justice for the victims and their families.”

Prosecutors and the suspects have two weeks to file an appeal the verdicts.

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