The International Coordination and Response Group for the victims of Flight PS752, shot down by the IRGC in 2020, denounces Iran’s “sham” trial for alleged culprits.

In a Tuesday statement, the response group — which represents Canada, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine – said, “The sham trials that took place in Tehran must not distract the world from Iran’s failure to meet its international obligations and take responsibility for its actions.”

On Sunday, a court in Iran issued sentences for 10 low-ranking military personnel in connection with the incident, sentencing a commander to 10 years in prison, while nine others were sentenced to between one and three years. The names of none of the senior military and government officials could be seen in the list, while families of victims demand to know which senior officers issued the order to fire at the plane.

In the statement, the response group said that the Islamic Republic “callously shot down Flight PS752 over Tehran,” denouncing the verdicts in the criminal trials against the alleged perpetrators.

“Neither the trials nor the verdicts announced this week brings truth or justice to the families of the victims, as the entire process—starting with Iran’s biased investigation into the downing—lacked the necessary impartiality and transparency,” read the statement.

Flight PS752 of the Ukrainian International Airlines was shot down by two air-defense missiles fired by the IRGC as it took off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport on January 8, 2020. Hours earlier, the IRGC had fired more than a dozen missiles at Iraqi bases hosting US troops in retaliation for the killing of its Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani in a US airstrike in Baghdad just five days earlier.

All 176 passengers and crew, including 63 Canadians as well as 82 Iranian citizens died in the disaster.

Iran first tried to deny it had shot down the plane, but when video evidence emerged, it acknowledged the incident but attributed it to human error. However, it never allowed an independent investigation and did not explain why the order was issued to shoot at a plane taking off from Tehran, or if Iran was concerned about a US retaliation, why it did not close its airspace following the attack on US bases in Iraq.

On December 28, 2022, the Coordination Group urged Iran to agree to arbitration as Tehran stonewalled over an independent investigation and proper compensation.

The statement Tuesday added, “The families of the 176 innocent victims are still waiting for the justice they deserve. We continue to stand in solidarity with the families and loved ones of the victims of the downing of Flight PS752 and will not rest until justice has been served.”

On Monday, head of the Judiciary Organization of the Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic, Ali Eftekhari, made paradoxical remarks about the case. Claiming that “the air defense system of the country was not defective” at the night of the accident, he said that “it was not possible to determine whether it was a passenger plane or a missile in the radar system at night.”

Although it is common knowledge that radar is a radiolocation system that uses radio waves to detect and track objects and there is no difference in their performance between night and day. In addition, speed and trajectory of an object should clearly distinguish between a missile and a passenger plane.

Eftekhari also claimed that the IRGC did not shoot a second rocket at the plane, despite videos of the night of the incident clearly showing the second projectile.

Following the trials, families of the victims are outragedby light sentences issued for a few low-ranking military men.

Responding to the criticism about the light sentences for the alleged culprits in comparison to the harsh sentences for antigovernment protesters, Eftekhari said that those who go to the streets seek to “disrupt security” and “must” be punished but the operator behind the attack on the passenger plane meant to preserve the country’s security.

Source » iranintl