Families Of Flight PS752 Victims Criticize Iran's Judiciary For 'Show Trial'

An association representing the families of those killed in the downing of a Ukrainian commercial flight by Iran more than two years ago has criticized the verdicts issued in Iran against the alleged perpetrators as a "show trial."

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 commander Qasem Soleimani near Baghdad.

On April 16, Iran said it had sentenced 10 members of the armed forces to prison on charges of involvement in the downing of flight PS752, including a commander who was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

The other nine received prison terms of one to two years, but none of the names were disclosed in the judiciary's report.

In a statement, the association of the victims' families called the verdict a "show trial," accusing the judiciary of holding closed court sessions and insulting the victims' families.

The statement said the Iranian judiciary did not pursue the main perpetrators and commanders of the crime and produced 10 defendants without establishing their identity.

Most 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.

More than 70 members of the victims' families withdrew their complaints at various stages of the trial and did not recognize the jurisdiction of the court before the verdict was issued.

The association called on the countries that lost people in the incident -- Canada, Britain, Sweden, and Ukraine -- to formally lodge a complaint against Iran at the International Court of Justice and support the association's complaint in the International Criminal Court.

The statement also called for adding the IRGC to a list of terrorist groups and for the Canadian police to reopen the criminal investigation into the incident.

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

Written by Ardeshir Tayebi based on an original story in Persian by RFE/RL's Radio Farda