Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 judges reject request to investigate alternative crash scenarios

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 judges reject request to investigate alternative crash scenarios
Above, a court session of the MH17 trial in the high-security courtroom of The Schiphol Judicial Complex in Badhoevedorp, The Netherlands, on Aug. 31, 2020. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 25 November 2020

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 judges reject request to investigate alternative crash scenarios

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 judges reject request to investigate alternative crash scenarios
  • MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down by a missile fired from territory held by pro-Russian rebels

AMSTERDAM: Judges hearing the case against four defendants in the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on Wednesday rejected a defense request for more time to investigate alternative scenarios into the crash in eastern Ukraine.
MH17 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it was shot down by a missile fired from territory held by pro-Russian rebels during fighting with Ukrainian government troops, international investigators say. All 298 people on board were killed, two-thirds of them Dutch nationals.
After years of collecting evidence, a Dutch-led international Joint Investigation team (JIT) last year said the missile launcher used to hit the civilian airplane came from a Russian army base just across the border.
The Dutch government holds Moscow responsible, and three Russians and a Ukrainian are on trial for murder. None of the suspects is in custody and only one is represented in court proceedings.
Russia has always denied involvement and has promoted a range of alternative theories, which the investigators rejected as unsupported by evidence.
Judge Hendrik Steenhuis said the defense had not provided a clear alternative scenario to investigate, while information on several other possible explanations was already part of the case file.
Steenhuis said witnesses who reported seeing the missile launcher on July 17, 2014, should be questioned again.
Judges also ruled that a new effort should be made to speak to the leader of Russia’s 53rd brigade, which has been identified by investigators as having transported the missile launcher.


British Asian celebrities produce video to tackle coronavirus myths

 British-Asian celebrities have produced a video to dispel coronavirus myths and urge people to get a vaccine. (AFP/Screenshots/File Photos)
British-Asian celebrities have produced a video to dispel coronavirus myths and urge people to get a vaccine. (AFP/Screenshots/File Photos)
Updated 17 min 8 sec ago

British Asian celebrities produce video to tackle coronavirus myths

 British-Asian celebrities have produced a video to dispel coronavirus myths and urge people to get a vaccine. (AFP/Screenshots/File Photos)
  • Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and former Conservative Party chairman Baroness Warsi are also included in the video

LONDON: British-Asian celebrities including cricketer Moeen Ali and comedians Romesh Ranganathan and Meera Syal have produced a video to dispel coronavirus myths and urge people to get a vaccine.

The video was organized by “Citizen Khan” creator Adil Ray, who said that he wanted to tackle falsehoods surrounding vaccinations for those from ethnic minority communities.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and former Conservative Party chairman Baroness Warsi are also included in the video.

Conspiracy theories and myths about coronavirus vaccines have caused concerns about uptake, particularly in the South Asian community.

“We all just feel we needed to do something,” Ray told the BBC.

He appears in the five-minute video with celebrities like former “Coronation Street” actress Shobna Gulati, who used her space in the clip to say: “We will find our way through this. And we will be united once again with our friends and our families. All we have to do is take the vaccination.”

Comedians Sanjeev Bhaskar, Asim Chaudhry and Ranganathan were on hand to debunk common coronavirus myths.

Ranganathan joked: “There’s no chip or tracker in the vaccine to keep watching where you go. Your mobile phone actually does a much better job of that.”

A recent poll commissioned by the Royal Society of Public Health showed that just 57 percent of black, Asian and minority ethnic people (BAME) would be happy to receive a vaccine, compared with 79 percent of white Britons.

Dr. Harpreet Sood, an NHS doctor heading up an anti-discrimination effort, said fake news and myths were likely behind the worrying numbers for the BAME community.

The UK government has recently started to tackle the problem directly, with UK Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick arguing that faith leaders were crucial to vaccine uptake. His announcement came as he opened the UK’s first vaccination center in a mosque.

Jonathon Kitson, a fellow at the Adam Smith Institute, told Arab News: “Mass vaccination is the only way out of the pandemic, and it is great to see people from all backgrounds working to dispel myths, fake news and conspiracy theories like this.”

He added: “The faster the rollout can take place, the sooner we can get back to normal.”

Sam Bowman, co-founder of a new myth-dispelling website called “Anti-Virus: The COVID-19 FAQ,” told Arab News: “It is absolutely vital that everyone realizes that the vaccine is a safe, effective ticket back to normal life. It will mean that people of all ages are safe to see each other again, and go back out to work and their old lives.”

He added: “It’s great to see this video correct the misinformation being promoted — anyone pushing an unscientific anti-vaccine lie needs to be publicly contradicted and exposed as the shysters they are.”