The Hague District Court in absentia sentences Russian citizens Girkin, Dubinsky, Ukrainian Kharchenko to life in prison in MH17 crash case
SCHIPHOL, Netherlands. Nov 17 (Interfax) - The Hague District Court has found Russian citizens Igor Girkin (Strelkov), Sergei Dubinsky, and Ukrainian citizen Leonid Kharchenko guilty in the case involving the crash of a Boeing 777 plane performing flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and in absentia sentenced them to life in prison.
The ruling said that in the opinion of the court, only the death penalty will be sufficient for the defendants, and the court sentenced Girkin, Dubinsky and Kharchenko to life imprisonment.
At the same time, Russian citizen Oleg Pulatov was found not guilty of involvement in the crash and acquitted.
The decision to acquit Pulatov was made because it was not proved that Pulatov was involved in the launch from a Buk surface-to-air missile system, from which, according to the investigators, the plane was downed. At the same time, the other defendants in the case are accomplices to the crime, the court said.
None of the defendants in the case were present at the trial. Pulatov was represented by a team of Dutch lawyers, and he himself testified in a video that was shown during the trial. Dubinsky, Kharchenko and Girkin were not represented during the trial.
According to the court sentence, Girkin, Dubinsky and Kharchenko are also obligated to pay at least 16 million euros in compensation.
According to the court ruling, the Buk surface-to-air missile system was brought to the Donetsk People's Republic-controlled territory from Russia, and was sent back when the plane was downed. At the same time, as noted in the court verdict, the target of the missile launch was a military aircraft, and the hit on the civilian aircraft turned out to be an error.
The defendants in the case may appeal the court ruling within two weeks.