Teary-eyed Malaysian MH17 families demand justice


Teary-eyed families of Malaysians killed when a Malaysia Airlines jet was shot down over Ukraine on Thursday demanded those responsible be brought to justice, ahead of the third anniversary of the disaster.

All 298 people on board were killed when the jet was downed in conflict-torn eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014 on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

A joint international investigation has determined that the Boeing 777 was hit by a Russian-made BUK missile fired from rebel-held territory, but a separate criminal probe has yet to arrest any suspects.

Moscow has repeatedly denied any involvement in the downing of flight MH17, putting the blame on Kiev.

Forty-three Malaysians were killed in the tragedy, including 15 crew members.

About 90 of the victims’ family members, many wearing black, Thursday attended a commemoration to mark the anniversary of the disaster, hosted by the Malaysian transport minister.

“I want the suspects hunted down and punished for their crime,” Fateen Izzah, whose engineer brother Hasni Hardi Parlan was killed in the disaster, told AFP.

“Only swift justice will ease the pain my family and I have endured these three years,” added the teary-eyed 27-year-old, as she clutched the hand of her husband.

Mohamad Zaki, 40, who lost his 30-year-old student brother Mohamad Ali Mohamad Salim, echoed the call.

“We want the authorities to nail those who shot the plane down. I know it will take a long time, but I will be patient,” he said.

The families were briefed by Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai on the latest developments in the investigation.

“We are confident … investigators will be able to identify the criminals responsible for the MH17 tragedy and we will be able to charge them in Netherlands,” he said, adding the probe into the tragedy could be wrapped by early 2018.

Dutch officials announced last week that the trial of any suspects arrested in the shooting down of flight MH17 will be held in the Netherlands after an agreement was reached with several countries leading a joint probe. Most of the victims were Dutch.