‘Russian couple giving information about MH17 should return to Russia’

A Russian couple who had fled to the Netherlands and provided sensitive information about the attack on flight MH17 is sent back to Russia. De Volkskrant reports that after inspection of the twos file.

The couples wife shared the information two years after arrival in the Netherlands with the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), which investigates the disaster. That would have pushed her heart to tell the story no further. The newspaper does not report details of the information for safety reasons.

Ind Immigration Service believes that the woman should have shared information about MH17 immediately upon arrival in the Netherlands, writes the newspaper. The IND rejected the asylum application and got right to court. The couple are now illegally staying in the Netherlands, awaiting their expulsion to Russia.

Phone Call

The issue began in July 2014, when the woman in Russia accidentally caught a phone call about who were involved in the shooting of flight MH17 in Eastern Ukraine. A year later, she and her friend were seriously threatened and abused by the Russian Security Service FSB, writes de Volkskrant on the basis of their asylum file.

After their flight to the Netherlands, at IMMIGRATION SERVICE IND, they initially told nothing about what they knew about bringing down MH17. She would be afraid that their family in Russia would get into trouble because of that testimony.

When their asylum request was rejected and the JIT team made a new witness call, the woman stepped to the Public Prosecutors Office in 2018 with the MH17 information.

Not an official witness

There she would have been told after three talks that she would not be seen as an official witness, because its consequences and dangers would not be proportionate to what it would bring for the criminal investigation. However, the information would have been taken seriously by the detectives.

The IND immigration service was less impressed. That organization didnt make sense that the FSB would be after the couple and refused to grant them asylum. The court went along with that.

European court

The two have not yet been deported because of corona there are few expulsions at the moment. Their hopes are based on the appeal that their lawyer has filed at the European Court of Human Rights, but it may take years to make a decision there.

The Public Prosecutors Office and the IND did not want to respond to the case against the Volkskrant.