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Canadian court awards $83m to families of airliner downed by Iran

People hold signs with images of the victims of the downed Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on January 8, 2021 [COLE BURSTON/AFP via Getty Images]
People hold signs with images of the victims of the downed Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on January 8, 2021 [COLE BURSTON/AFP via Getty Images]

A Canadian court has awarded $83.94 million, plus interest, to the families of six people who died in 2020 when the Iranian Revolutionary Guards downed a Ukraine International Airlines plane near Tehran two years ago, killing all 176 people on board.

Many of the victims were Iranians with dual nationality, including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents. The six family members awarded compensation by the Ontario court lost spouses, siblings, children, nieces and nephews aboard Flight 752.

Iran claimed at the time that the plane was shot down in error after mistaking it for a missile at a time of heightened tensions with the US. Initially the Iranians had vigorously denied that it had brought down the passenger plane.

Nearly a year after the downing of the plane, the Iranian government agreed to pay $150,000 as compensation to the families of each of the 176 victims.

In the same month, Canada launched an investigation into the tragedy. A special Canadian forensic team produced a report mid last year that accused Iran of incompetence and recklessness. Iran criticised the report as being "highly politicised."

The report found that, while the shooting down of the plane had not been premeditated, it did not absolve Iranian officials of responsibility for the incident.

Mark Arnold, the family's lawyer, said in a statement on Monday that they had filed a civil lawsuit believing that Iranian officials were to blame for the incident. Arnold explained that his team will look to seize Iranian assets in Canada and abroad.

There is no indication that the Iranians will agree to pay the sum awarded by the Canadian court or if it will be possible to raise that amount by seizing Iranian assets abroad.

READ: Canada and others say patience running out with Iran over downed plane

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Asia & AmericasCanadaIranMiddle EastNews
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