Netherlands won’t deport Russian informants in MH17 investigation
The Netherlands won't deport a Russian couple who gave the judiciary information about the downing of flight MH17, the Volkskrant reports. The couple had exhausted all legal remedies in the Netherlands after three failed asylum applications, but the IND recently granted them asylum after all, according to the newspaper.
In July 2014, the woman accidentally overheard information about who was involved in firing the BUK missile that brought down flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine earlier that same month. Knowing that information brought her and her boyfriend into trouble. They were threatened and assaulted by Russian security agents, according to the newspaper.
They eventually fled to the Netherlands, where they applied for asylum and cooperated with the judiciary in the MH17 investigation.
In the summer, their third asylum application was rejected. The Volkskrant reported that the Netherlands would deport two people who gave important information in the major investigation. Several Dutch intelligence sources then criticized the immigration and naturalization service IND's conduct and raised concerns about what would happen to the couple if they were sent back to Russia. This prompted the IND to reassess their final application, and they were granted refugee status.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over eastern Ukraine on 17 July 2014, killing all 298 people on board, including 196 Dutch. The trial against the first four men suspected of involvement in this attack is currently happening in the Netherlands. On Wednesday, the Public Prosecution demanded life in prison against rebel leader Igor Girkin, his right-hand man Sergei Dubinsky, his assistant Oleg Pulatov and garrison commander Leonid Khartshenko.