MH17 trial to resume with no public due to virus measures

The chairman of the MH17 trial chamber Hendrik Steenhuis, center, arrive at the Schiphol courthouse on March 9, 2020 for the opening of the trial over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014. (AFP)
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Updated 17 March 2020

MH17 trial to resume with no public due to virus measures

  • The landmark trial of the suspects began earlier this month in a courtroom packed with visitors
  • While public and media will not be allowed to attend, the hearing will be streamed online

THE HAGUE, Netherlands: The murder trial of three Russians and a Ukrainian accused of involvement in the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 will be closed to the public and media when it briefly resumes later this month in a Dutch courtroom.
The decision announced Tuesday to close the March 23 hearing comes after Dutch courts said they would shut down until April 6 for all but urgent cases because of restrictions introduced by the government to fight the spread of the coronavirus
The landmark trial of the suspects in the July 17, 2014, downing of the Boeing 777 over eastern Ukraine began earlier this month in a courtroom packed with visitors, including family members of some of the 298 passengers and crew killed. None of the suspects showed up for the trial, which continued in their absence.
A temporary media center was built next to the court for the hundreds of journalists who attended the trial.
At the next session, the three-judge panel hearing the case will rule on requests made by prosecutors and defense attorneys for one of the suspects. The case will then be adjourned until June 8.
While public and media will not be allowed to attend, the hearing will be streamed online.
The flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia was shot down by a Buk missile fired from territory controlled by pro-Moscow separatist rebels. Prosecutors say the missile and launcher were driven into Ukraine from a Russian military base and the launcher was driven back to Russia after the downing of flight MH17. Russia denies involvement in the downing.


Suicide bomber kills 18 in Afghan capital

Updated 24 October 2020

Suicide bomber kills 18 in Afghan capital

  • There has been an upsurge in violence between Taliban and Afghan forces in the country
  • The US signed a peace deal with the Taliban in February, opening up a path toward withdrawing American troops from the conflict

KABUL: A suicide bomber struck near an education centre in the Afghan capital on Saturday, killing at least 18 people in the latest attack to rock the conflict-wracked country.
Violence on the ground has spiked in recent weeks despite the Taliban and the Afghan government holding peace talks in Qatar to end the country's grinding war.
The suicide attack, which also wounded 57, happened late afternoon at the centre, which offers training and courses for students in higher education in a western district of Kabul.
"A suicide bomber wanted to enter the education centre," Tareq Arian, spokesman for the interior ministry, said in a statement.
"But he was identified by the centre's guards after which he detonated his explosives in an alley."
He said the attack had left at least 18 people dead and 57 wounded.
"I was standing about 100 metres from the centre when a big blast knocked me down," said local resident Ali Reza, who had gone to hospital with his cousin who was wounded in the blast.
"Dust and smoke was all around me. All those killed and wounded were students who wanted to enter the centre."
Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack.
Residents in several districts of western Kabul belong to the minority Shiite Hazara community, often targeted by Daesh militants. 
In the past, extremists have targeted several education centres and other facilities in the area.
In May, a group of gunmen launched a brazen daylight attack on a hospital in west Kabul that left several mothers dead. The gunmen were shot dead after hours of fighting with security forces.