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World Canada court awards compensation for families over jet downed by Iran

16:31  04 january  2022
16:31  04 january  2022 Source:   afp.com

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A Canadian court has awarded more than $80 million in compensation to the families of six people who died when Iran shot down a Ukrainian airliner almost two years ago, according to a decision made public Monday.

Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 was shot down shortly after take-off from Tehran on January 8, 2020, killing all 176 people aboard © STR Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 was shot down shortly after take-off from Tehran on January 8, 2020, killing all 176 people aboard

Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 was shot down shortly after take-off from Tehran on January 8, 2020, killing all 176 people aboard -- including 85 Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

Three days later, the Iranian armed forces admitted to downing the Kyiv-bound plane "by mistake."

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Ontario Superior Court Judge Edward Belobaba had previously ruled that the strike on the civilian aircraft "constituted terrorist activity", paving the way for bereaved families to seek compensation.

In the decision publicly shared Monday, he awarded the plaintiffs $107 million Canadian dollars ($83 million), plus interest.

It was unclear how the money would be collected from Iran, but Belobaba said he was "satisfied that some level of enforcement may well be possible and some level of deterrence may well be achieved."

"(The plaintiffs' counsel said) viable Iranian-owned assets and investments remain accessible not only in Canada but worldwide," the judge wrote in his decision.

Contacted by AFP on Monday evening, the plaintiffs' lawyer Mark Arnold did not immediately respond.

Canadian court awards $84M to families over plane shot down by Iran in 2020

  Canadian court awards $84M to families over plane shot down by Iran in 2020 An Ontario, Canada, court has awarded $84 million to the families of six people who died when Iranian military forces shot down a Ukraine International Airlines plane in 2020, The Guardian reported. In a statement on Monday, the families' attorney Mark Arnold said they were awarded compensation by the county for the loss of their relatives aboard flight Flight 752. The court decision was upheld by Justice Edward Belobaba of Ontario's SuperiorIn a statement on Monday, the families' attorney Mark Arnold said they were awarded compensation by the county for the loss of their relatives aboard flight Flight 752.

In a statement posted online Monday, the lawyers argued for Canada's jurisdiction over the compensation.

"In 2012, the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act and the State Immunity Act were amended to permit such claims to be brought against foreign states designated as state sponsors of terrorism," lawyers Mark Arnold and Jonah Arnold said.

"Canada designated the Islamic Republic of Iran as such a state."

In May, the same judge concluded that Iran had committed a "terrorist" act by shooting down the Ukrainian aircraft.

Tehran denounced that ruling, saying it had "no basis" and insisting that the Canadian court lacked the authority to render such a decision.

The plaintiffs had asked for $1.5 billion Canadian dollars in damages.

In a final report in March, the Iranian Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) said its air defense systems were on high alert for a US counter-attack after Tehran fired missiles at a military base in Iraq that was used by US forces.

The Islamic republic had just attacked a US base in Iraq in response to the killing of General Qassem Soleimani, and was expecting a response from Washington.

Ukraine denounced the report as a "cynical attempt to hide the real causes" of the tragedy, while Ottawa said the report was "incomplete" and lacked "hard evidence."

A group of countries led by Canada said in June that they had filed an action against Iran to seek compensation for the families of the victims.

In December 2020, Iran offered to pay "$150,000 or the equivalent in euros" to each of the victims' families.

That announcement was strongly criticized by Ukrainian and Canadian officials, who said that compensation should not be settled through unilateral declarations.

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