Iran’s hearing on shooting down Ukrainian airliner begins

Dubai, United Arab Emirates (Associated Press)-The Iranian military court began on Sunday to hold hearings on the military’s shooting down of a Ukrainian airliner in 2020 that killed 176 people, according to Iran’s official news agency.

The report stated that 10 military personnel-suspects from “different levels”-attended the meeting. The families of the victims and their lawyers also attended the meeting and represented 103 legal complaints about the downing of Ukraine International Airlines flight number PS752.

The report quoted the unidentified judge as saying that he hoped that the court would make an “accurate, prompt and serious” judgment based on a “reasonable, fair, transparent, clear and effective” procedure.

The court heard the testimony of the victim’s family lawyer, and the report stated that the next court hearing will be announced after the prosecutor further investigates.

The report did not confirm the identity of the suspect. Sunday’s meeting was the first hearing since the incident nearly 22 months ago.

In April of this year, a prosecutor stated that 10 officials had already been prosecuted in this case. A month ago, Iran faced severe criticism from the international community for publishing its final report accusing human error but no one was responsible.

In January 2020, after three days of denial in the face of mounting evidence, Iran finally admitted that its paramilitary Revolutionary Guards had mistakenly shot down Ukrainian aircraft with two surface-to-air missiles.

In the preliminary report on the 2020 disaster, the Iranian authorities accused an air defense operator of mistaking the Boeing 737-800 as a US cruise missile.

On the same day, Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on U.S. forces in Iraq in retaliation for the U.S. drone attack and killed a senior Iranian general.

Later, National Guard officials publicly apologized for this incident. But Iran is unwilling to elaborate on what happened, which shows the strength of this force.

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