Date for verdict in MH17 crash trial revealed

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The District Court of The Hague has set November 17 as a provisional date for its ruling in the trial of four suspects in the downing of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17, it said in an announcement on Monday.

It may take about half a day for the court to read the verdict, the statement said, adding that the date of the proceedings may be subject to change.

Dutch authorities have charged four people, a Ukrainian and three Russians, with launching an anti-aircraft missile and hitting flight MH17 over Ukraine in 2014. All 298 people on board were killed in the incident.

The trial is held in absentia, with only one defendant sending lawyers to represent him. His team argued that the proceedings were biased against their client and failed to explore alternative versions of what had caused the tragedy.

READ MORE: Russia hit with compensation claim over MH17

The prosecution has asked for life sentences for all four accused individuals.

The civilian airliner was shot down amid intensive fighting between Kiev and rebel forces in the east of Ukraine, who refused to accept an armed coup in the capital. The upheaval ousted elected President Vladimir Yanukovich and brought nationalist forces into power. Russia stands accused of providing the missile launcher, which it strenuously denies.

Russia’s Almaz Antey, the producer of the Buk missile system that downed the flight, said its analysis contradicted the allegations against the rebels. It said the evidence pointed to the attack coming from a location controlled by Ukrainian forces at the time.

The Russian defense ministry said serial numbers found on debris of the projectile identified it as coming from a Ukrainian stockpile, which the country inherited during the break up of the Soviet Union.

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