Justice Minister apologizes to fired MH17 forensic researcher

Ard van der Steur (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons)Ard van der Steur (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons)

Minister Ard van der Steur of Security and Justice apologized to forensic scientist George Maat on Thursday. Maat was discredited after giving a lecture showing images of flight MH17 victims. The Minister also acknowledged mistakes he made in this conflict to the Tweede Kamer, lower house of parliament, NU reports.

Shortly after the controversial lecture, Van der Steur and the police decided to break ties with the renowned scientist. He called Maat's actions "extremely inappropriate and distasteful". For months Maat demanded an apology from the Minister - he feels that he did nothing wrong and complied with what rules there were on giving such lectures - but Van der Steur always refused.

The Minister now finally gave in and acknowledged that he was in the wrong. He spoke to Maat on Thursday. In a statement following the conversation, Van der Steur wrote that he was "guided too much by emotion" and that "it would have been better if he had spoken more businesslike".

Maat accepted the apology and agreed to work with the Ministry again in future.

Van der Steur also acknowledged mistakes made in a letter to the Tweede Kamer, especially regarding the police report on the matter. The report showed that Maat did little wrong. He can not be blamed for showing the MH17 images, there was a lack of clear guidelines and there were previous lectures using such images.

But when the Kamer first received the report, most of the information was blacked out, including the pieces exonerating Maat. The Kamer only got to see the whole report after repeated urging. Maat also got to have a look at the report and published the information.

In his letter to the Tweede Kamer, Van der Steur stated that he should have sent the report to the Kamer earlier. He also stated that the decisions to black out information on the report and to break ties with Maat were made by the police, not by him.



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