Malaysian PM calls new MH17 conclusions "hearsay"

Mahathir Mohamad, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, is critical about the new findings the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) revealed in the investigation into the MH17 disaster on Wednesday, calling them "nothing but hearsay". In another statement, the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that "the Malaysian approach is that conclusions must always be based on evidence and not politically motivated", AD reports.

The Foreign Ministry of the Southeast Asian country also said that Malaysia remains committed to the JIT.

On Wednesday the JIT - which consists of the countries most affected by the MH17 disaster: the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Ukraine and Malaysia - announced that three Russian and one Ukrainian suspects will be prosecuted for the downing of flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine on July 17th, 2014.

Based on intercepted telephone conversations around the disaster, among other things, the JIT concluded that Igor Girkin, Sergey Dubinskiy, Oleg Pulatov, and Leonid Kharchenko played crucial roles in delivering the BUK missile system that shot down MH17. They will be prosecuted for causing the crash and leading to the death of everyone on board. They are also facing charges of murdering 298 passengers of MH17.

“We now have the information, have the proof, that the Russian Federation is involved in this tragedy, in this crime, one way or another.” Dutch Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke said in the press conference. 

A Malaysian member of the investigation team, Mohamad Hanafiah bin Zakaria, was present at the JIT press conference in Nieuwegein. A present journalist asked him how Malaysia views the new conclusions. "We are on the side of the law and we stand by the conclusions", he replied. 

The Dutch government previously asked Malaysia for clarification after Prime Minister Mohamad raised doubts about whether Russia was responsible for the downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight. 

In a letter sent to Dutch parliament after the press conference, Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security that the decision to prosecute has the full and unanimous support of all countries participating in the Joint Investigation Team, possibly also due to the previous statements made by Mohamad.