Dutch minister apologises to 'fired' MH17 expert

14th January 2016, Comments 0 comments

Dutch Justice Minister Ard van der Steur on Thursday apologised to a pathologist who was fired for showing medical students photos of the victims from the MH17 air disaster, his spokesman said.

"They have talked and the minister said he was sorry," Lodewijk Herkking, the minister's spokesman, told AFP, adding professor George Maat "had accepted" the apology.

Maat, from the University of Leiden, worked with the Dutch forensics team as an independent expert helping to identify the victims of the July 2014 disaster.

All 298 passengers and crew onboard the Malaysia Airlines jetliner -- most of them Dutch -- died when it was shot down en route to Kuala Lumpur at high altitude by a BUK Russian-made missile over rebel-held eastern Ukraine.

During a lecture in Maastricht in April last year, Maat showed photos of some of the remains to a group of medical students, to teach them about identification.

Van der Steur said at the time it had been "completely inappropriate and in bad taste" and sidelined Maat from the forensics team.

But Maat said this month that a police investigation into the case had exonerated him, agreeing he had not broken any confidentiality and privacy laws.

He had called for an apology from Van de Steur.

© 2016 AFP

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