Relatives react at a memorial in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, for the victims of a Ukrainian 737-800 plane crash on the outskirts of Tehran.Ten officials have been indicted in Iran over the 2020 military shootdown of a Ukrainian passenger plane that killed 176 people, but the move did nothing to quell Canadian demands for accountability Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Efrem Lukatsky

Relatives react at a memorial in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, for the victims of a Ukrainian 737-800 plane crash on the outskirts of Tehran.Ten officials have been indicted in Iran over the 2020 military shootdown of a Ukrainian passenger plane that killed 176 people, but the move did nothing to quell Canadian demands for accountability Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Efrem Lukatsky

Trudeau, O’Toole, demand accountability as Iranian officials indicted for PS752 crash

Iran released a final report that blamed “human error” for two surface-to-air missiles fired at the jetliner

Ten officials have been indicted in Iran over the 2020 military shootdown of a Ukrainian passenger plane that killed 176 people, but the move did nothing to quell Canadian demands for accountability Tuesday.

More than 100 of the 176 victims — at least one of whom was pregnant — had ties to Canada, including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents.

The announcement comes after Iran faced withering international criticism last month for releasing a final report into the shootdown of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 that blamed human error, but named no one responsible for the incident.

Tehran military prosecutor Gholamabbas Torki similarly avoided naming those responsible when he announced the indictments Tuesday while handing over his office to Nasser Seraj. The semiofficial ISNA news agency and the Iranian judiciary’s Mizan news agency both reported his remarks.

“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,” Mizan quoted Torki as saying, without elaborating.

Kourosh Doustshenas, whose partner Forough Khadem was one of victims, said the families of the dead can’t trust the Iranian justice system because the Tehran military prosecutor didn’t disclose the names of those charged, nor the alleged offences.

“We don’t accept their assertion of what they’re saying, and we don’t believe in what they’re saying,” he said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

Doustshenas said the Iranian government has been “making a show” to avoid accountability since it published the “so-called final investigation report” a few weeks ago that was “full of lies and misrepresentations.”

In Ottawa, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government remains “tremendously concerned about the lack of accountability that Iran continues to have on this issue.”

Trudeau said during a news briefing Tuesday that Canada would work with the international community to reform aviation standards and to ensure the families of victims “get closure, get compensation and mostly get justice from Iran.”

Doustshenas said the Canadian government has not pressed Iran hard enough to achieve accountability.

“(The Canadian government keeps) saying we want transparency and accountability, but they don’t say how they will achieve it, and what is the mechanism for it,” he said.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said there should be more pressure on Iran for a full inquiry and examination of events.

“The regime should be held to account for the liability of the lives lost,” O’Toole told a news conference.

Following three days of denial in January 2020 in the face of mounting evidence, Iran finally acknowledged that its paramilitary Revolutionary Guard mistakenly downed the Ukrainian jetliner with two surface-to-air missiles. In preliminary reports on the disaster last year, Iranian authorities blamed an air-defence operator who they said mistook the Boeing 737-800 for an American cruise missile.

Last month, Canada’s Transportation Safety Board said Iranian officials failed to provide evidence that Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down by mistake, leaving key questions unanswered as Iran’s military effectively investigated itself.

The regime’s civil aviation body released a final report that blamed “human error” for two surface-to-air missiles fired at the jetliner minutes after takeoff from Tehran on Jan. 8 last year.

The Canadian government rejected the report outright, describing it as “incomplete” and devoid of “hard facts or evidence.”

Many on the flight had planned to connect in Kyiv, Ukraine, to fly on to Canada.

The shootdown happened the same day Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on U.S. troops in Iraq in retaliation for an American drone strike that killed a top Iranian general. While Guard officials publicly apologized for the incident, the hesitancy of Iran to elaborate on what happened shows the power the force wields.

Following the release of Iran’s final investigative report, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba lambasted the findings as a “cynical attempt to hide the true causes of the downing of our passenger aircraft.” He accused Iran of conducting a “biased” probe into the disaster that resulted in “deceptive” conclusions.

Canada’s foreign and transport ministers similarly criticized the report, saying that it “has no hard facts or evidence” and “makes no attempt to answer critical questions about what truly happened.”

The announcement of charges came just hours before Iran and the five world powers remaining in its atomic accord meet in Vienna, where the U.S. is due to start indirect talks with Tehran.

READ MORE: Iran’s report on shootdown of Flight 752 doesn’t explain why it happened: TSB

— With files from The Associated Press

Maan Alhmidi and Jim Bronskill, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Flight 752 crash in Iran

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Thursday that the province has seen its first case of the B.1.617 variant. (Photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer nears record number of active COVID-19 cases

Alberta reports 1,857 new cases of COVID-19, 1,326 new variants

Pastor Marco Ste-Marie of Rimbey United Church has spearheaded a new project called ‘Walking Through Rimbey’ to shine a light on various agencies and non-profit organizations. Photo submitted
‘Walking Through Rimbey’ continues to gather steam

Pastor Marco Ste Marie launched the project, aimed at building community connections, earlier this year

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta passes bill to give all workers paid leave to get COVID-19 vaccine shot

Labour Minister Jason Copping says Bill 71 will reduce barriers for Alberta workers to get vaccinated

Alberta completed 18,412 COVID-19 tests, as reported on Wednesday, for a test positivity rate of 9.5 per cent. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Highest daily count of 2021 so far: Alberta reports 1,699 COVID-19 cases

Variants now make up 59 per cent of Alberta’s active cases

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Premier Jason Kenney say the province would look at adding additional COVID-19 measures in the coming weeks if the virus continues to spread. (Photo by Government of Alberta)
Walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic to open in Red Deer

Alberta adds 1,345 new cases of the virus

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Alberta bill would protect health workers, care homes from some COVID-19 lawsuits

The bill proposes exempting a range of workers, including doctors, pharmacists and care-home operators, from being sued over COVID-19 unless it was for gross negligence

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange was in Red Deer on Friday to provide an update on the province's COVID-19 response in schools.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Alberta government aiming to boost financial literacy among students

Government providing grants to organizations who will help design financial literacy programming

President Joe Biden holds a virtual bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
U.S. to help Canada with more COVID-19 vaccine supply, Biden says

The U.S. has already provided Canada with about 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

sign
Alberta Biobord Corp. recently hosted a virtual open house from Stettler

The company plans to develop a fuel pellet and medium density fibre board (MDF) plant near the community

Most Read