Suspect's lawyer accuses Prosecutor of dismissing relevant MH17 testimony
The lawyers of MH17 suspect Oleg Poelatov strongly criticized the Public Prosecution Service (OM) on Monday. According to lawyer Sabine ten Doesschate, the OM wrongly set aside a statement from a witness. She finds this statement - in which witness 'S45' says that there was no BUK missile system in the vicinity of the alleged firing location - very relevant to the case.
"It is incomprehensible that the OM assessed the content of S45's statement as irrelevant," she said in the court at Schiphol on Monday. "In addition, we have great difficulty with the fact that the OM did not report that it has these documents." This witness, who was kept anonymous, is said to have spent six months in Ukraine when flight MH17 crashed on 17 July 2014.
He stated that he believes the Boeing was not shot down with a BUK missile. "He explains why he is convinced that no BUK was fired within a 50-kilometer radius of him; that this could not have been missed given the amount of noise and other signals."
According to the OM, the Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down by a BUK missile over eastern Ukraine. An armed conflict was ongoing at the time. All people on board, including nearly 200 Dutch people, were killed in the disaster. Four men are suspected of involvement in the downing of the plane: rebel leader Igor Girkin, his right-hand man Sergei Dubinsky, his assistant Oleg Pulatov and garrison commander Leonid Chartshenko. Only Pulatov is assisted by lawyers, the others have not responded to the allegations against them.
The extensive criminal case has now been going on for 1.5 years. The OM is expected to come with sentencing demands in mid-November, but that may be postponed if more investigation is needed or witnesses still need to be questioned. There should be more clarity about that soon. A court ruling is not expected before the middle of next year.
Reporting by ANP.