MH17 trial briefly resumes in near empty courtroom | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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MH17 trial briefly resumes in near empty courtroom

FILE - In this July 22, 2014 file photo, a pro-Russian rebel touches the MH17 wreckage at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, near the village of Hrabove, eastern Ukraine. Three Russians and a Ukrainian went on trial Monday. March 9, 2020 in the Netherlands, charged with multiple counts of murder for their alleged involvement in the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which killed all 298 people aboard. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)
March 23, 2020 - 4:20 AM

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - The trial of three Russians and a Ukrainian charged with multiple murder for their alleged roles in shooting down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in 2014 resumed briefly Monday as the presiding judge read out a number of preliminary decisions. The courtroom was almost empty due to restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Decisions on several requests by prosecutors for further investigations were delayed to give defence lawyers for one of the defendants more time to prepare.

Among decisions taken by the court since the trial opened on March 9, Presiding Judge Hendrik Steenhuis authorized prosecutors to give lawyers for family members of the 298 victims access to limited parts of the investigation dossier.

After a hearing of just under 45 minutes, the case was adjourned until June 8, when defence lawyers for one of the suspects will be allowed to make preliminary objections such as challenging the Dutch court's jurisdiction to stage the trial.

None of the suspects is attending the trial and only one — Russian Oleg Pulatov — has appointed defence lawyers to represent him.

When the trial opened earlier this month, the courtroom was packed with lawyers, judges, family members of victims and media. But on Monday judges sat separated from one another by an empty seat, the number of prosecutors, lawyers and other staff was reduced and family and media were not allowed to attend.

The flight, known as MH17, was shot down July 17, 2014, by a Buk missile fired from territory in eastern Ukraine controlled by pro-Russian separatist rebels as it flew from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. All 298 passengers and crew aboard the Boeing 777 were killed. Russia denies involvement.

News from © The Associated Press, 2020
The Associated Press

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