Canadian families win compensation over jet downed by Iran

People hold signs with images of the victims of the downed flight in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on 8 January 2021
Images of the victims were displayed during an event marking the first anniversary of the tragedy in Toronto last year

A Canadian court has awarded C$107m (£62m; $84m), plus interest, to the families of six people who died when a plane was downed near Tehran in 2020.

The family members awarded compensation by Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice lost spouses, siblings, children, nieces and nephews.

Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 was hit by two missiles after taking off. Iran has said it mistook the aircraft for a US missile.

All 176 people on board died.

They included 55 Canadians and 35 permanent residents of Canada. The relatives had filed a civil lawsuit against Iran and other officials who they say were to blame for the incident.

It was not immediately clear how the money would be collected from Iran. The relatives’ lawyer, Mark Arnold, said his team would look to seize Iranian assets in Canada and abroad, which could include oil tankers.

This is the first time that compensation has been awarded to the families of the victims, CBC reports, adding that Iran did not defend itself in court.

Last year a report by the Canadian government said Iran was “fully responsible” for the downing of the plane, and that it had been a result of “incompetence” and “recklessness”.

Iranian authorities initially denied responsibility for the incident, which happened on 8 January 2020. But as evidence mounted, the Revolutionary Guards’ Aerospace Force said an air defence unit had mistaken the Boeing 737-800 for a US missile.

Iran’s air defences had been on high alert because the country had just fired ballistic missiles at two Iraqi military bases hosting US forces. That was in retaliation for the killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike in Baghdad five days earlier.

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