Tuesday, January 5, 2016 - 08:43
MH17 forensic scientist exonerated after controversial lecture
George Maat, the forensic scientist who ended up in the spotlight after a controversial lecture using footage of the MH17 disaster, copied the police report on his lecture with a pencil and a note pad and published it on the Leiden university website Mare. "Now everyone can read the pieces and draw their own conclusions", he said. He believes the report exonerates him. "I was accused of causing the relatives pain with the lecture and that I revealed sensitive information about MH17. That is simply not true." Maat said. Maat was discredited after two RTL Nieuws reporters attended his lecture and reported that he showed pictures of victims of the disaster. He also talked about the specific damage caused by a missile explosion. After the report Minister Ard van der Steur of Security and justice called the lecture "extremely distasteful and inappropriate" and said that Maat's statements were "speculative, incorrect and partly outside his area of expertise". The Minister also told the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, that Maat was suspended from the investigation team. The police report found that his suspension was unfair. "The measures were taken without clear understanding of the facts." Because Maat and his colleagues had permission to use the photos in lectures, and Maat can not personally be blamed for that, according to the police report. The police did not have proper arrangements in place for the use of sensitive materials. "The main cause is locked in the system, and not in the person of Professor Maat." The report states that Maat is innocent, but was kept secret for months. When the Kamer insisted that the report be made public, most of it was blacked out. Maat decided to publish the report after he was finally allowed to look at it. "Then everyone can read the pieces and draw their own conclusions. And Parliamentarians can based on these documents ask new questions to Minister van der Steur."