Families slam ‘corrupt’ Russia at plane crash trial
THE HAGUE: The traumatised families of 298 people killed in the shooting down of flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014 demanded justice from Russia on Monday as they testified in the Dutch trial of four suspects.
People who lost children, parents and siblings in the crash of the Malaysia Airlines plane said they could not truly say goodbye to their loved ones until those responsible had been brought to book.
International investigators say a Russian-made missile fired from eastern Ukraine held by pro-Moscow rebels brought down the Boeing 777, but Russia has denied all involvement.
Ria van der Steen, who lost her father Jan and stepmother Nell, said she was quoting from the Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn: “They are lying, we know they’re lying and they know that we know that they’re lying.” “I am full of feelings of revenge, hate, anger and fear,” said Van der Steen, who was the first to testify.
“I know they are dead and I will not see them again, but I can’t put an end to this process of saying goodbye, certainly not until those who are responsible for their deaths are found to be guilty for what they have done.”
Van der Steen told the court of recurring nightmares, like walking through the debris after the crash to search for her father. “When I eventually find him, I have to tell him that he has died, and then I wake up crying,” she said.
Australian Vanessa Rizk, whose parents Albert and Maree were travelling back on the doomed plane from a European holiday, said the perpetrators “deserved punishment for their heinous actions.” “How would the perpetrators feel if it was their loved ones? How would (President Vladimir) Putin and his corrupt Russian government answer that,” she said via livestream from Australia.
Published in Dawn, September 7th, 2021