A Canadian court today ruled that the downing of Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752 by a missile fired by Iranian forces early last year was a deliberate “act of terrorism”; the ruling will pave the way for possible compensation for the families of those who died.
On Jan. 8 of last year, Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752 crashed into the suburbs of the Iranian capital Tehran, killing all 176 people on board, including 85 Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Iran initially denied the Western allegations, but three days later admitted that the Iranian military “unintentionally” shot down the other side.
AFP reported that Canada’s Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled on a “balance of probabilities” that the plane was hit by two missiles shortly after takeoff from Tehran on that day and that it was “intentional”.
Judge Edward Belobaba also ruled that “the plaintiff’s allegations are valid and the defendant’s shooting down of flight 752 was an act of terrorism.
The plaintiffs’ legal team called the ruling “unprecedented in Canadian law. In a statement, they said, “This will have significant implications for the immediate families of the victims who are seeking justice.”
The lawsuit, filed by the families of the four victims, seeks 1.5 billion Canadian dollars (about 35.3 billion New Taiwan dollars).
They claim Iran launched the missile attack “in retaliation” for the U.S. killing of Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force near Baghdad Airport in Iraq, days before the crash.
A final report released by the Iran Civil Aviation Organisation in March said the missile attack and the “alert” response of ground forces were the result of high tensions between Iran and the United States at the time.
Eleven Ukrainian citizens were killed in the crash. The Ukrainian side said there was a “ludicrous attempt to cover up the real cause of the tragedy” behind the report, while Canada said there were “no strong facts or evidence” in the report and promised to release its own findings soon.
Iran did not defend itself in court, but it admitted three days after the crash that Iranian forces shot down the Kiev-bound Boeing 737-800.
The court will later decide on the amount of compensation.