Downing of UIA plane in Iran is terrorist attack – Canadian court ruling
The downing of a Ukrainian aircraft of Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in January 2020 in Iran was a deliberate act of terrorism, the Ontario Superior Court has ruled, according to the Global News.
"The plaintiffs have established that the shooting down of Flight 752 by the defendants was an act of terrorism and constitutes 'terrorist activity'," the Global News said, citing judge Edward Belobaba.
The judge found "on a balance of probabilities that the missile attacks on Flight 752 were intentional."
In the ruling, the Ontario court judge relied on two experts, one of whom concluded that the Revolutionary Guards "knew Flight PS 752 was a civilian airplane and purposefully shot it down with the intent to destroy it."
The judge issued the default judgment against Iran in a civil suit brought by four families of those killed aboard the Ukraine International Airlines flight on January 8, 2020.
It is also noted that Iran was served with the court papers through Global Affairs Canada, but did not defend itself in the proceedings. The case names Iran, the Revolutionary Guards, the Iranian Armed Forces and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, among others, as defendants.
The decision effectively allows the families in Canada to seek damages from Iran. While the State Immunity Act would normally shield Iran from Canada's courts, under the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, that immunity does not apply for acts of terrorism.
As reported, the UIA Boeing 737-800 passenger plane, which was supposed to operate flight PS 752 on the Tehran-Kyiv route, was shot down near the Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran immediately after takeoff early in the morning on January 8, 2020. There were 167 passengers and nine crew members onboard. They all died. Among the dead there were 11 citizens of Ukraine (including nine crew members), 82 citizens of Iran, 63 citizens of Canada, 10 citizens of Sweden, four citizens of Afghanistan, three citizens of Germany and three citizens of Great Britain.
Iranian authorities on January 11 admitted that Boeing was shot down by the Iranian military mistakenly. Later, commander of Aerospace Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Amir Ali Hajizadeh said that he was taking full responsibility for the crash of the Ukrainian plane.
At the end of July, negotiations were held in Kyiv with the Iranian side to pay compensation for the downed UIA plane. On October 20, Ukraine and Iran completed the second round of talks on the downed UIA plane near Tehran.
On January 5, 2021, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Ukraine had received from Iran a draft technical report on the circumstances of the UIA Boeing 737 crash, which occurred near Tehran on January 8, 2020.
In February, the media released an audio recording of a man identified by sources as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif discussing the possibility that the downing of Flight PS 752 was a deliberate act. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Yevhen Enin said that the pretrial investigation bodies and the Prosecutor's Office of Ukraine were examining the audio recording.