A Russian couple who fled the country, who gave the judiciary confidential information about the circumstances of the attack on flight MH17, is being sent back to Russia by the Dutch government. That appears according to the Volkskrant from research conducted by the newspaper. Intelligence experts fear for their safety.
The couple’s wife accidentally received detailed information in July 2014 about who was involved in the shooting down of flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine. Nearly 300 people on board were killed. The woman and her boyfriend were seriously threatened and assaulted the following year by the Russian security service FSB, according to their asylum file, which is in the possession of de Volkskrant.
The couple fled to the Netherlands in early 2016. They initially did not tell the Immigration Service IND about MH17, for fear that it would leak out that they had talked and their family in Russia would get into trouble. Only when their first asylum application was rejected in 2018 and the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) made a new call for witnesses did the Russian woman get in touch with the judiciary.
Ultimately, the woman was told that she would not be considered an official witness, because the consequences (changing her complete identity) and the dangers would be disproportionate to the proceeds for the criminal investigation.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) rejected the appeal against the rejection of their asylum application, calling their flight story “unbelievable” and finding it implausible that the FSB is after them. The Public Prosecution Service tells de Volkskrant ‘never go into case histories, certainly not when conversations are conducted confidentially’. The newspaper is in possession of e-mails showing that conversations have been held between the woman and MH17 investigators.
Free unlimited access to Showbytes? Which can!
Log in or create an account and never miss a thing from the stars.