Suspect Pulatov in MH17 case ready to testify, but his lawyers object
Oleg Pulatov, a defendant in the case of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 shot down in 2014 in the skies over Donbas, has said he is ready to appear before the court to prove his innocence, but his lawyers do not advise this.
This follows from the speech of one of the accused's lawyers, Sabine ten Doesschate, at the MH17 trial, which resumed at the Schiphol court complex on Monday.
According to her, the defense had the opportunity to meet with Pulatov in the Russian Federation, which they previously could not do due to the restrictive measures introduced due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"In Russia, we had an intense and useful communication with our client. This was the first time we could talk to him. As a result, we got a lot of additional information ... Our client told us that he was not involved in giving the order to transport and guard the Buk [anti-aircraft missile system from which the plane was shot down], nor to shoot at MH17. He was not involved in this and does not know personally how and why MH17 was shot down. He does not know what really happened," the lawyer said.
According to her, Pulatov saw the downed MH17. "He said how terrible it was for him personally," the lawyer added.
At the same time, the client admits that he was involved in military operations in eastern Ukraine.
"Pulatov wants to speak on these issues and wants to appear before this court, but we are against this. His photo was widely disseminated and it would be unsafe for him to appear here, also bearing in mind that there is an international request for his arrest," Sabine ten Doesschate said.
The lawyer also convinces the court that the defense, as well as the court itself, needs more time to gather more information regarding Pulatov's possible involvement in the tragedy. She also insists that the defense be given one more month to send final requests for further investigation.
"We need more information from our client in order to understand what further inquiries we can make. We believe that we need to talk more with him. We need to know more about our client's position. We can send final requests for additional investigation in one month to court session, which is scheduled for November 2. We believe that the result of the investigative steps that we therefore request will shed more light on this subject," she explained.
The prosecution asked for 20 minutes to prepare their reaction, and presiding Judge Hendrik Steenhuis called a recess.