Canada court rules Iran deliberately downed passenger plane

Canada court rules Iran deliberately downed passenger plane in 'terrorist act'
2 min read
22 May, 2021
A Canadian court ruled this week that the downing of Ukrainian Airlines Flight PS752 was not accidental.
The plane crash killed scores of Canadian citizens and residents [Getty]

Iran intentionally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet last year in an act of terrorism, a Canadian judge ruled this week.

Tehran has rejected the "shameful" ruling regarding the downing of Ukrainian Airlines Flight PS752, with a foreign ministry spokesman stating the Ontario court was not qualified to evaluate the "aviation accident or potential negligence".

The January 2020 downing of the plane resulted in the deaths of all 176 people aboard, including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents.

Justice Edward Belobaba of Ontario’s Supreme Court ruled this week that the downing - which took place hours after Tehran launched missiles at an Iraqi base hosting US troops - was deliberate.

The ruling was issued in support of a lawsuit filed by the families of some of the victims, who have demanded $1.5 billion in compensation from Iran.

Tehran did not offer a defence to the court. Iranian officials have said two missiles were fired at the passenger jet after it was mistaken as a hostile target.

A civil jury will deliberate how much compensation the Iranian government should pay within the next three months, Canadian daily The National Post reported.

As Iran does not recognise Canada's jurisdiction over the case, it will be difficult for the plaintiffs to collect any damages.

The families' lawyer, Mark Arnold, has said that could mean Canada or other nations seizing Iranian assets abroad in order to pay out the damages.

"We will seize and sell any Iranian assets worldwide that we can get our hands on," Arnold was quoted as saying by The Independent.

"Oil tankers full of oil heading to Venezuela, Gibraltar, South Korea, Thailand, Australia. We will invoke the assistance of any foreign court that might assist us," he said.

Last year, the Iranian government said it would issue payments of $150,000 each to the families of victims of the downing. It has not said when the families would be paid.