Iran Sentences 10 Military Members To Prison In 2020 Downing Of Ukrainian Airliner That Killed 176

Iran has sentenced 10 members of the armed forces to prison on charges of involvement in the 2020 downing of a Ukrainian airliner that killed 176 people, according to the Iranian judiciary's website.

Mizan Online on April 16 reported that a commander was sentenced to 10 years in prison while nine others received terms of one to three years.

"Examining this case has been one of the most important, sensitive, and complex judicial processes in the last few years of the country," the website said.

The website added that the commander's action in leading the downing of the craft "was due to his ignorance of the situation and his misplaced belief that the discovered target was hostile."

Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 crashed on January 8, 2020, while en route to Kyiv, killing all 176 people on board.

Days after official denials, Iran admitted that a unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) had inadvertently shot down the plane amid heightened tensions with the United States over the U.S. drone assassination of top IRGC general, Qasem Soleimani, near Baghdad.

The majority of the victims were Iranians and Canadians, but 11 of them were citizens of Ukraine. The families have demanded transparency and accountability. The Iranian government has allocated $150,000 to compensate the family of each passenger, but some families have refused the money.

Canada said last year that it found no evidence of premeditation in the downing of the airliner. A Canadian court awarded $84 million and interest to the families of six of the victims.

The Group of Seven industrialized countries (G7) last year said in a joint statement that Iran should be held accountable for the shooting down of Flight PS752.

"We continue to support international efforts to hold Iran accountable for the illegal downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752," the June 28, 2022, statement said.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Radio Farda and AFP