Kin of MH17 victims welcome news of murder charge

Gone but not forgotten: Habibah looking at a picture of her daughter Azrina during an interview at a shopping mall in Alor Setar, Kedah.
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

PETALING JAYA - The mothers of two crew members of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 are glad that those responsible for their sons' deaths almost five years ago will finally be brought to justice.

"I am happy as we will finally know who shot down the plane and how it happened. My son was killed and I hope they will be punished for what they did," Noriah Daud said yesterday.

Noriah, the mother of co-pilot Ahmad Hakimi Hanapi, said the latest information by the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) came as a surprise.

"I visited the Netherlands with several fa­­mi­­­ly members a week before the start of the fasting month in May.

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“We stayed over at a friend’s home and visited the MH17 memorial, where there were trees planted for loved ones killed in the incident,” she said, adding that the visit brought back painful memories for her. Noriah added that Ahmad’s widow Asmaa Aljuned and his son Abderrahman planned to attend the MH17 anniversary ceremony next month.

"His son is now six years old and he wants to know how his father died," the 66-year-old said.

"I am not following them as I have no heart to do so."

Noriah, who lives in Cyberjaya, said the family received an invitation to attend the closed-door briefing in Nieuwegein, the Nether­lands, but was unable to do so as it was given in short notice.

Amnah Mohd Sharif, 70, from Klang, said she got a call from Malaysia Airlines inviting her to attend the briefing as her son, flight attendant Shaikh Mohd Noor Mah­mood, was among the MH17 victims.

"I am happy with the news and those who are guilty should be punished.

"I leave it to the authorities to do what needs to be done," she said.

She said she was unable to attend the briefing in the Netherlands and passed the information on to Shaikh Mohd's widow Mardiani Mahdi, who is a senior flight attendant with Malaysia Airlines.

Ahmad Hakimi, 29, and Shaikh Mohd, 44, were part of the 15-member crew who pe­­rished with 283 passengers on July 17, 2014, when MH17 was shot down over Ukraine after departing Amsterdam for Kuala Lumpur.

In Alor Setar, the mother of chief flight attendant Azrina Yakob, who perished in the crash, said she wanted justice.

Habibah Ismail, 70, said her fami­ly had been waiting for this moment for five years.

"We want to know why the plane was shot and who did it. We will not rest easy until we know," she said.

According to official information, the Ma­­lay­­sia Airlines plane was carrying 193 Dutch, 43 Malaysian, 38 Australian, 12 Indonesian and 10 British passengers, as well as one from New Zealand.