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10 Iran military personnel on trial over downed Ukraine jet

Ten members of Iran’s military have gone on trial in connection with the downing of a Ukrainian passenger jet in 2020, the judiciary says.

On January 8, 2020, Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 crashed shortly after take-off from Iran’s capital Tehran, killing all 176 people aboard, most of them Iranians and Canadians, including dual nationals. The Islamic Republic admitted three days later that its forces mistakenly shot down the Kyiv-bound Boeing 737-800 plane, after firing two missiles.

A report by the Iranian Civil Aviation Organisation released in March blamed the shooting of the jet on “human error.”

The trial is being held at a military tribunal in Tehran province, according to the judiciary’s Mizan Online agency.

“Ten defendants of different [military] ranks were present in court,” it says.

According to Mizan Online, 103 people filed a complaint to the judiciary demanding “an impartial investigation” to identify who was responsible for the downing of the plane and bring them to court. The agency, citing a prosecution representative, adds that the plaintiffs also demanded “that factors that hindered the search for the truth be known.”

Tensions between Iran and the US were soaring at the time of the incident. Iranian air defenses 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. Those missiles were fired in response to the killing of General Qassem Soleimani, who headed the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, in a US drone strike near Baghdad’s international airport.

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