‘A year without truth’: MH17 relatives, independent investigators want ‘facts not propaganda’
With debris of Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 still covering the crash site in eastern Ukraine, the investigation of the July 17, 2014 tragedy is surrounded by secrecy. RT talked to international experts and the victims’ families, still waiting for answers.
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“He was a good man, a good brother. He promised to take me one day on board of his plane... He wanted to take me to Europe, but instead I brought his body home from Amsterdam on a plane,” the younger sister of flight MH17 captain, Wan Lailatul Mustarah Bt. Wan Hussin told RT Documentary (RTD).
RTD’s team visited Captain’s Wan Amran’s family in Malaysia. They couldn’t talk to the pilot’s wife, as she was sick, suffering from mental problems resulting from the trauma she experienced after her husband was killed in the crash.
“At first the youngest son couldn’t accept this all, he was always saying that his father would come back,” the captain’s older sister, Wan Aini Bt. Wan Hussin, told RTD.
The Malaysian captain’s family was shown a picture of his body, which they say “wasn’t damaged, just slightly burnt.”
READ MORE: 'Was there a 2nd plane?' New footage shows MH17 crash site minutes after Boeing downing
“I was able to identify him. The person who cleaned the bodies told us that our brother’s body was in the best condition, with nothing missing,” Wan Lailatul Mustarah Bt. Wan Hussin said. The family, like all victims’ families, were not allowed to open the coffins by the government, they told RTD.
“The government is keeping quiet,” the captain’s sister said, adding that the family doesn’t blame anybody. “We just want and hope somebody will come up with something, especially from the black box,” she said.
“We want the facts, we don’t want propaganda,” Malaysian engineer Azahar Zanudin told RTD. “I’d like to know the real things about the disaster of MH17, because in MH17 case there is something wrong about the investigation,” the engineer said. Blaming the local media for “following the western media” bias, Zanudin has created a Facebook page, where he collects the news about the crash from around the world “for the people to see.”
“You can study the whole world behind your laptop, but the best thing you can do is check the spot yourself,” Dutch blogger Max Van Der Werff told RTD. The blogger has visited the crash site in Ukraine, and said that in the one week he spent there, he had learned more about the crash “than in a whole year behind my laptop.”
READ MORE: MH17 downed in Ukraine: What has happened in 365 days since the crash
“The Netherlands is the official head of the investigation... (but) we are part of NATO, we are part of anti-Russian alliance, so we are not independent investigators,” Van Der Werff said, adding that the MH17 crash should have been investigated by the UN, “not a biased country like the Netherlands.”
Another independent researcher from the West also changed his opinion on the possible cause of the tragedy after visiting the crash site. “I thought that the story of (another) plane taking the Boeing was a propaganda of Russia,” German independent journalist Billy Six shared with RTD. Then he visited the site in eastern Ukraine and spoke to witnesses who claimed they saw military jets flying in the area, but no BUK missile launcher vapor trail.
“When I reached the crash site, my first impression was quite eye-opening. I saw that the mass media coverage claiming that it’s a very large field of 45-50 square kilometers (about 20 square miles) of wreckage – which gives a conclusion to people that the plane was smashed into pieces in the air – is not true,” Billy Six said, adding that he saw just two places where the MH17 wreckage was largely concentrated.
A lot of pieces of evidence can still be found in the area. On finding parts of the Boeing, people bring them to the local administration, which is said to be in touch with Dutch experts.
Whoever launched the rocket is “a different story,” Elmar Gimulla, a Berlin lawyer who represents the families of aviation crashes victims, told RTD. But the Ukrainian government “has failed” and is to blame for allowing the passenger plane to fly above the military zone, he said.
“Only two days before this crash occurred, a military plane was downed by the rebels. In that situation it was a responsibility of the Ukrainian government to close the air space for civilian flights,” Elmar Gimulla told RTD, adding that he had received threatening emails after news broke that he was aiding German families in launching a suit against Ukraine over the MH17 crash. Once, someone from Ukraine describing himself as “a Nazi” wrote the lawyer with the warning: “be careful what you do.”
“There is too much secrecy regarding the investigation,” former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad told RTD. Saying that the country is “very neutral because there is no real evidence,” the politician said that the investigation of the Malaysia Airlines crash, which claimed the lives of all 298 people on board, was “quite unusual.”“Involvement of Malaysia is limited,” the ex-prime minister said.
READ MORE: MH17 couldn’t be shot from rebel areas, West pressuring investigators – Russian Air Agency