Iran Indicts 10 People Over Ukrainian Boeing 737 Downing

In an announcement coming out of Tehran today, military prosecutor Gholamabbas Torki has indicted 10 officials involved in the military shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger jet killing all 176 passengers and crew. Following scalding international criticism last month, when Iran blamed human error but did not name names as the reason two ground-fired missiles took out flight number PS752, this now appears to have changed.

Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) Boeing 737-800
10 people now face trial for the downing of flight PS752 Photo: Getty Images

Coincidentally, this news emerges just as Iran prepares to sit down in Vienna with world powers to discuss its collapsed nuclear deal. Gholam Abbas Torki said during a ceremony to introduce his successor Nasser Seraj that the individuals he did not name would be heading to trial soon. The Times of Israel quotes prosecutor Gholamabbas Torki as saying:

“The indictment of the case of the Ukrainian plane was also issued, and a serious and accurate investigation was carried out, and indictments were issued for 10 people who were at fault.”

Iran denied downing the plane

After days of denying that the aircraft had been shot down, Iran was forced to admit that its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard had mistaken the civilian Boeing 737 for an American cruise missile. It was hard for Iran to keep up the pretense when video footage emerged of two surface-to-air missiles hitting the plane.

At the time, the Iranian military was on high alert for an American attack following its decision to fire numerous ballistic missiles at American airbases in Iraq. The attack on the United States military was in retaliation for the American drone attack that killed top Iranian Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani days earlier. While Iranian officials later apologized for the incident, Iran was reluctant to release any details of what had unfolded leading up to the tragedy.

Many Canadian’s were on the flight

Operated by Ukraine International Airlines, flight PS752 was a regularly scheduled flight from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA) to Kyiv Boryspil International Airport (KBP). Many of the passengers aboard the flight were Canadian-Iranians flying home to Canada with a stopover in Ukraine.

Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752
Two missiles shot down the plane. Photo: Mehr News Agency via Wikipedia

Following the Iranian report’s release into the accident, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called the findings a “cynical attempt to hide the true causes of the downing of our passenger aircraft.” He accused Iran of a biased investigation that resulted in deceptive conclusions.

Canada also lambasted the report saying that it provided no hard facts or evidence as to why the plane was shot down just minutes after taking off on a regularly scheduled flight from a civilian airport.

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Iran offers compensation

In January, Iran’s government said that it would pay $150,000 in compensation to the families of all 176 victims of flight PS752.

uia 752 victim families
Iran has offered to pay the victim’s families $150,000 for each passenger. Photo: Getty Images

When speaking about the compensation with Canadian broadcaster CBC, spokesperson for an association of victims’ families in Canada seeking justice, Hamed Esmaeilion, said:

“What Iran is doing is humiliating and insulting to the families, we need to know the truth, and we need to see the criminals in an impartial, independent court like the United Nations International Court of Justice. We are done with Iran’s action,” he said.

“Now it is our government’s turn to act and react. To take the investigation from them and take them to the court.”

What do you think about the 10 indictments? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments.