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10 Iran military personnel on trial over downed Ukraine jet

Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 crashed shortly after take-off from Iran’s capital Tehran in January 2020, killing all 176 people aboard.

Relatives attending a ceremony held in memory of the victims of flight PS752 on the first anniversary of the plane crash in January 2021.
Relatives attending a ceremony held in memory of the victims of flight PS752 on the first anniversary of the plane crash in January 2021.
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

TEN MEMBERS OF Iran’s military have gone on trial in connection with the downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet in 2020, the judiciary said.

On 8 January 2020, Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 crashed shortly after take-off from Iran’s capital Tehran, killing all 176 people aboard, most of them Iranians and Canadians, including dual nationals.

The Islamic republic admitted three days later that its forces mistakenly shot down the Kiev-bound Boeing 737-800 plane, after firing two missiles.

A report by the Iranian Civil Aviation Organisation released in March blamed the shooting of the jet on “human error”.

Today’s trial was held at a military tribunal in Tehran province, the judiciary’s Mizan Online agency said.

“Ten defendants of different (military) ranks were present in court,” it said.

According to Mizan Online, 103 people had filed a complaint to the judiciary demanding “an impartial investigation” to identify who was responsible for the downing of the plane and bring them to court.

The agency, citing a prosecution representative, added that the plaintiffs also demanded “that factors that hindered the search for the truth be known”.

Tensions between Iran and the US were soaring at the time of the incident.

Iranian air defences were on high alert for a US counter-attack after Tehran fired missiles at a military base in Iraq that was used by US forces.

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Those missiles were fired in response to the killing of General Qasem Soleimani, who headed the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, in a US drone strike near Baghdad’s international airport.

Iran offered to pay $150,000 in reparations to the families of the 175 victims, or its equivalent in euros.

But Canada, which lost 55 of its citizens in the downing of the plane and 30 permanent residents, insisted it would continue to seek answers and ensure that Iran “takes full responsibility and makes full reparations”.

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AFP

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