17:57 14.05.2020

Man charged by the Netherlands in MH17 downing taken into custody in Donetsk – media

2 min read
Man charged by the Netherlands in MH17 downing taken into custody in Donetsk – media

Leonid Kharchenko, one of the four people charged by Dutch prosecutors in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 (MH17) over Donbas in 2014, has been taken into in custody in Donetsk, the BBC's Russian Service said citing its own sources.

"The Netherlands formally indicted Kharchenko for his role in the downing of MH17, proceedings began on March 9 of this year. And on March 11, 'DPR' [the so-called 'Donetsk People's Republic'] authorities detained Kharchenko near his home and then arrested him, but in an absolutely different criminal case," the BBC's Russian Service said in a report, citing a source reportedly linked to the "DPR's" military command in 2014-2015 and Kharchenko's former colleague, who is still living in Donetsk.

The "DPR" authorities extended Kharchenko's arrest for another two months on May 9. He is currently being held at a detention facility of the "DPR" justice ministry, located at 4 Kobozev Street in Donetsk, the BBC said.

"The charges are ridiculous; they're supposedly for his involvement in an unlawful search in 2014 and the illegal storage of firearms. On the first count, the victims have no complaints. On the second, the pistol was given to him by the ["DPR"] State Security Ministry in 2019, so that he could ensure his personal security in connection with the MH17 case," the BBC quoted a source familiar with some circumstances of Kharchenko's arrest as saying.

The source believes Kharchenko has been taken into custody so as to isolate him.

"Kharchenko's colleague, who agreed to talk to the BBC, believes the former scout was taken into custody to rule out his abduction by Ukrainian special services," the BBC said.

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