Bodies of Ukrainian plane victims lying on the ground on January 8, 2020

Victims’ Families Reject Trial In Iran For Downed Airliner

Friday, 12/16/2022

Iran's Islamic regime has held the third hearing of a trial for a group of IRGC personnel it says are responsible for shooting down a Ukrainian airliner in 2020.

The hearing session was held Thursday after a one-year gap with the presence of ten defendants.

Flight PS 752 was hit with two surface-to-air missiles as it was taking off from Tehran on January 8, 2020, in the tense aftermath of Iran's missile attack on United States military bases in Iraq. The missile attack on US bases was in retaliation for the US killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad days earlier.

All 176 onboard the jetliner died but for three days the government lied about shooting down the plane.

Without mentioning any names, the regime’s judiciary only said ten defendants from different military ranks were present.

The Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims, however, warned Wednesday that the Islamic Republic is “planning yet another mockery of justice” in a military court.

In a statement the Association stated, “Tehran’s military court will be resuming its show trials on the downing of flight PS752, which claimed the lives of 176 innocent passengers and crew, along with an unborn child.”

Based on the information obtained, added the statement, not a single high-ranking or even mid-level officer or commander of the armed forces are among the accused.

“The case and charges are based on a false theory of negligence and human error. There have been no independent experts to investigate the case. Everything has happened behind closed doors and without any transparency towards the families of the victims,” reads the statement.

Victim families at the first court session in Tehran in January 2022

The families have instead endured and resisted nearly three years of “persecution, intimidation, threats, and sometimes deceitful offers of compensation,” it added.

Families of flight PS752 victims underlined that in recent days, the world witnessed how “innocent civilians were summarily tried and executed with no due process. Meanwhile, the culprits who ordered or carried out the orders to shoot down a civilian airliner continue to roam around with full impunity after nearly three years.”

The Islamic Republic recently executed two protesters, Majidreza Rahnavardand Mohsen Shekari in less than a week after charging them with either killing or injuring government agents during anti-regime protests sparked by the September death of 22-year-old Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini in police custody.

At least 494 people have been killed in the demonstrations amid a heavy-handed security crackdown, according to human rights groups. More than 18,000 have been detained by authorities.

“It is our duty to inform the public of the nefarious plots of the Islamic Republic thugs and their leaders,” families of flight PS752 victims stressed, underscoring that the regime “intends to close this blood-stained file in silence and at a time when the West is on holidays.”

They stated that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, IRGC Commander Hossein Salami, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani, Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces Mohammad Bagheri, Commander of IRGC’s Aerospace Force Amir Ali Hajizadeh, and many others among the highest ranks of the Islamic regime are “the real culprits behind this crime and must be put on trials.”

Some parents of the victims also boycotted the proceedings last year, saying that the trial of those allegedly responsible lacks transparency and due process.

The families of victims have filed a lawsuit at the International Criminal Court to investigate the case as a war crime or crime against humanity.

In May 2021, some family members also filed a civil lawsuit against the government and senior officials they believe were to blame for the incident. Canada’s Ontario Court ruled that the downing of the plane was an intentional act of terrorism.

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