Malaysian victims’ families react to identification of suspects who downed flight MH17

Family members and friends of victims gather in front of a 'hedge of compassion', made of thousands of soft toys, during a commemoration ceremony for the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Nieuwegein, July 17, 2015. — Reuters pic
Family members and friends of victims gather in front of a 'hedge of compassion', made of thousands of soft toys, during a commemoration ceremony for the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Nieuwegein, July 17, 2015. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 20 — Family members of victims of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 tragedy voiced their gratitude following a report yesterday that revealed the four main suspects who had allegedly shot down the plane in July 2014 over rebel-held eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

A cousin of victim Ariza Ghazalee, Zurisdi Mohd Zol, 51, from Kuching, said the long wait for the family to see justice served for all victims of the unfortunate flight will finally come to an end.

“We have been patient for five years. We never stopped praying that justice will be on the side of the victims.

“The incident was clearly an international ‘murder’ and we hope that the suspects would be charged soon,” he said when contacted by Bernama today.

MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down over Ukraine, some 40km from the Russian border, on July 17, 2014. All the 298 people on the flight, including the 15 crew, were killed in the incident.

The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) said yesterday it is going to prosecute the suspects — Russians Igor Girrkin, Sergey Dubinskiy and Oleg Pulatov and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko — over the downing of the plane.

Normi Abdullah, 59, widow of chief steward Mohd Ghafar Abu Bakar, from Ampang said she was glad that the suspects held responsible for the downing of MH17 will finally be brought to justice.

“I am grateful that the suspects have been identified. At least, we have got something five years after the incident. Whatever it is, I am leaving it to the authorities for what needs to be done,” she said, expressing the hope that Malaysia will act firmly towards the criminals.

Shahrom Bee Md Ibrahim, 62, mother of victim Nur Shazana Mohamed Salleh, from Bayan Lepas, Penang, said the JIT announcement won’t change anything as it cannot bring back her daughter.

“I am very sad, but what can I do? It will not bring Nur Shazana back. The time taken (for the investigation) is too long,” she said.  

Shahrom, however, said she still wants to know why innocent people were killed.

On May 24, JIT reportedly said that the BUK anti-aircraft missile which hit the Boeing 777 had originated from the 53rd Russian military brigade based in Kursk.

The JIT said the four suspects will be charged in a court in The Hague on March 9 next year. — Bernama

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