The mum of a 25-year-old Aussie man who died in the MH17 tragedy has spoken out after it was revealed that four suspects will finally be charged with mass murder over the downing of the Malaysia Airlines flight.
Jack O’Brien was one of the 298 people who died when MH17 was shot down over Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing everyone onboard.
Now his mother Meryn has exclusively revealed to the Sydney Morning Herald that she’s welcomed news that four people will be charged over the horrific event.
The MH17 Joint Investigation team (JIT), which includes investigators from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, Ukraine and the Netherlands, confirmed on Wednesday that three Russians – Igor Girkin, Sergei Dubinsky and Oleg Poelatov – and one Ukrainian, Leonid Kharchenko, will face a Dutch court charged with downing an aircraft and the murder of the 298 passengers and crew onboard.
The investigators claimed the four will be charged with conspiring to obtain an anti-aircraft missile system from a Russian army brigade “with the aim of shooting down an aircraft”.
The suspects include separatist leader Girkin, who was reportedly wiretapped on the phone requesting “anti-aircraft defence” from a Russian government figure.
Watching a press conference about the news, Meryn told the news outlet that “it was hard to look at their faces on the screen”.
“It stood out to us that they named what happened as murder,” she added. “We were most impressed with the clear statements about the lack of cooperation from the Russian Federation. The involvement of the [Russian government] has been firmly established.”
According to The Australian, Dutch chief prosecutor Fred Westerbeke insisted that it was just the start of the criminal proceedings.
“Even though they have not pushed the button themselves, the suspicion is they closely co-operated to get the BUK, put it in position and to prepare it which then shot down the plane,” he added, according to the news outlet.
“Therefore they are suspects together. Under Dutch criminal law people who were not present themselves, but play an important organising role are just as punishable as the person who committed the crime.’’
The four suspects will now be subject to international arrest warrants and placed on international wanted lists. The case will begin in The Hague on March 9, 2020.
It comes after the parents of three children who tragically lost their lives along with their grandfather onboard the flight broke their silence in an emotional TV interview, revealing how they’ve worked to overcome their grief and find joy again in unimaginable circumstances.
Mo, Evie and Otis Maslin, aged 12, 10 and eight – along with their grandad Nick Norris – were four of the passengers onboard. Their parents Marite ‘Rin’ Norris and Anthony ‘Maz’ Maslin recently spoke out to tell their story for the first time in an emotional interview on ABC’s Australian Story, recalling the horrific moment they first learned of the tragedy and revealing how they’ve dealt with their crippling grief in the five years since.
“We’re coming up to five years since the cataclysm,” Rin said on the show. “We say [it’s] when our world ended, because it did, when our life was completely shattered in the blink of an eye.”