MH17 kin sue Malaysia Airlines, seek damages ahead of lawsuit deadline

A Malaysian air crash investigator inspects the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), Donetsk region July 22, 2014. — Reuters pic
A Malaysian air crash investigator inspects the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo), Donetsk region July 22, 2014. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 15 — The kin of seven passengers on the ill-fated Flight MH17 are seeking damages in their lawsuits filed today against Malaysian Airlines Berhad for the 2014 disaster, just days before the deadline to pursue legal compensation ends.

Speaking to reporters at the High Court lobby here, lawyer Datuk Dr Arunan Selvaraj said his clients from Indonesia and Netherlands are suing before the two-year deadline as stated under the Montreal Convention 1999.

“We have filed seven suits. We are acting for 11 clients. We requested for special damages and general damages, general damages will be assessed by the court later,” Arunan said, adding that the kin were seeking special damages for funeral expenses and belongings.

“Our suit here is basically by virtue of the Montreal Convention, whatever they are entitled to by the Montreal Convention.”

Under the Montreal Convention 1999, an international treaty on compensation for air disasters, family members and the kin of victims can file lawsuits against an airline within a period of two years.

This Sunday marks the second anniversary of the shooting down of Flight MH17 by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 on board.

The victims were predominantly from the Netherlands, but also included citizens of Malaysia, Australia, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, the Philippines, Canada and New Zealand.

Another lawyer Shailender Bhar, who represented the families of another eight Malaysian victims on board flight MH17, also filed separate lawsuits against Malaysian Airlines today.

In a separate press conference at the High Court lobby, Shailender said the families were claiming losses in support and services due to the death of family members as well as aggravated and exemplary damages.

“The crux of this suit is going with the fact that MAS was using a route that should not have been used in the first place. So they were putting the entire plane, entire crew and entire passengers in danger,” he told reporters here.

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