09:58 GMT04 April 2020
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    On Monday a criminal trial will start in the Netherlands with four suspects being accused of involvement in bringing down Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight in Ukraine in 2014. A series of events organized by critics of the trial were held ahead of the hearings.

    The auditorium of the Old Lutheran church in Amsterdam was full on Sunday as dozens of people gathered at the “MH17-Quest for Justice” Symposium to discuss the upcoming court trial which is about to start at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Judicial Complex.

    Even though the majority of news outlets in the country seem to be supportive of the version of events brought forward by the Netherlands-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which placed the blame in the MH17 case on "pro-Russian rebels", many people, including independent journalists, disagree with this narrative.

    According to Sander Compagner – the editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper De Andere Krant, who dedicated the latest issue to the MH17 case and organized Sunday’s symposium, the media in the Netherlands is pretty much one-sided in covering the MH17 case, and those who doubt the official version of events face push-back:

    “All people that are critical of the JIT investigation, who are critical on the coming court case, they are “the Kremlin trolls”, they are not loyal to the families of those who lost their lives, so there is a lot of push-back to such initiatives.”

    On Saturday another MH17-related event was held in the Netherlands, with investigative journalists Max van der Werff and Yana Yerlashova presenting their research on the MH17 crash and the recent leaked document that they published as part of their Bonanza Leaks project. Both journalists spent a lot of time at the crash site in Donbass to talk to eyewitnesses and filmed several documentaries on the topic. They interviewed forensic experts, including court-certified Malaysian digital analyst Akash Rosen, who claims that the first phone recordings published by Ukraine’s security service (SBU), which supposedly show that pro-independence militia commanders were responsible for downing the MH17, were heavily edited.

    • MH17 – Quest for Justice Symposium, Amsterdam.
      MH17 – Quest for Justice Symposium, Amsterdam.
      © Sputnik / Denis Bolotsky
    • MH17 – Quest for Justice Symposium, Amsterdam.
      MH17 – Quest for Justice Symposium, Amsterdam.
      © Sputnik / Denis Bolotsky
    • MH17 – Quest for Justice Symposium, Amsterdam.
      MH17 – Quest for Justice Symposium, Amsterdam.
      © Sputnik / Denis Bolotsky
    1 / 3
    © Sputnik / Denis Bolotsky
    MH17 – Quest for Justice Symposium, Amsterdam.
    “We found Mr.Rosen in Malaysia and he did make a report for our documentary from 17th of July of 2019 explaining in detail that the Secret Service of Ukraine had made fake audio taps and put it on the Internet at the moment when the wreckage of the Malaysian MH17 was still burning,” Max van der Werff said during the “MH17 – Awaiting trial” event, which was organized in the Hague on Saturday by the international platform “Global rights for peaceful people”.

    Van der Werff added that even though these first phone taps were not used by the JIT in the official investigation, according to Rosen’s preliminary analysis, other recordings, which were published later and used as evidence, may have also been edited:

    “He’s still busy analyzing and writing a report, but already preliminary he can say that there are edits, although the quality is much better than on the first day, which makes sense because they had more time to doctor them.”

    Dutch mainstream media accused Max van der Werff of playing a key role in “the Kremlin media campaign” against the MH17 trial. He denied the allegations.

    The critics of JIT say that according to documents leaked by Bonanza, the investigators may have been trying to use the media to their advantage by publishing certain documents, which, together with other similar occurrences which they saw after the crash, may point at "narrative management".

    ​Even though Russia was excluded from taking part in the investigation from the very beginning, Moscow shared a lot of information with the JIT, including radar data and BUK missile manufacturer reports. According to the country’s foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, a lot of this data continues to be ignored.

    ​On Monday a panel of judges from the District Court of the Hague will start reviewing the case, in which three Russian citizens and one Ukrainian will be tried in absentia for allegedly playing a role in the downing of the ill-fated Malaysian Airlines flight with 283 passengers and 15 crew aboard during the armed conflict in South-Eastern Ukraine on 17 July of 2014.

    The Joint Investigation Team includes representatives from Belgium, Australia, the Netherlands, Ukraine, and Malaysia. 

    Donbass, plane crash, MH17, Netherlands
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