Lawyers for MH17 victims intimidated during Dutch trial: RTL News

Members of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic forces walk past a memorial to victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 plane crash, that was shot down over rebel-held territory in 2014, on the anniversary of the incident, outside the village of Hrabove in Donetsk region, Ukraine, on July 17, 2020.
PHOTO: Reuters

THE HAGUE - Lawyers who represent the families of 298 people who died when a Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down over Ukraine in 2014, are being intimidated and have been offered protective measures, Dutch broadcaster RTL reported on Thursday (Oct 28).

Several members of the team of lawyers, representing the families in the ongoing Flight MH17 Dutch murder trial of three Russians and a Ukrainian citizen, reported being followed home from the court building or seeing suspicious men checking out their home addresses, the RTL report said.

"In general terms, all parties concerned with the (MH17) trial are aware of physical and digital threats. We never comment on specific security measures," Dutch national anti-terrorism agency NCTV spokesperson Anna Sophia Postumus told Reuters in an email.

ALSO READ: Families of Malaysian Airlines MH17 crash victims to speak in court

The NCTV would not comment on the details of the report. RTL said the agency had organised a briefing for victims' lawyers late September where they were told Russia was likely behind the alleged intimidation and offered protective measures. The lawyers also declined to comment.

Flight MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was hit by what international investigators and prosecutors say was a Russian surface-to-air missile likely fired by pro-Russian militias. Russia denies any involvement with the crash.

In September, the MH17 trial picked up pace with three weeks of statements from 90 relatives spanning eight countries. They told the judges about the impact of the loss of their family members on their lives and their hopes for justice.