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Families Of Downed Plane Victims In Canada Suing Iran's Leader And Military

Puneh Gorji with her husband Arash Zarrabi. Undated
Puneh Gorji with her husband Arash Zarrabi. Undated

The uncle of a passenger onboard the Ukrainian airliner shot down by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard says he and other families of victims are launching court cases in Ontario, Canada.

Ali-Asghar Gorji, uncle of Puneh Gorji, said in a Facebook post January 24 families are suing the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic and the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) for a “terrorist act”.

A Ukrainian Boeing 737 taking off from Tehran’s airport in the morning of January 8 was shot down by two Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles within a short distance from the runway. After three days of denials, the Iranian military accepted responsibility saying the incident was the result of “human error”. All 176 passengers onboard died.

Gorji in his post added that victims’ families are also planning to appeal to the International Criminal Court. He did not refer to how many families are involved or their identities but explained that because of expected pressures by Iranian authorities on family members, they will remain anonymous.

Mr. Gorji appealed to all victims’ families to join the legal effort.

Puneh Gorji and her husband Arash Zarrabi were residents of Canada, visiting Iran and they were on their way back when the plane was shot down.

Dozens of Canadian citizens and residents were on board of the airliner, flying to Kyiv, Ukraine to catch a flight to Canada.

Iran has rejected demands by the Ukrainian and Canadian government to release the flight recorders for expert analysis, asking for hardware and software from the United States to conduct its own investigation. Skeptics believe Iran’s conduct is a delaying tactic not to share information, although it has already accepted responsibility for the downing of the plane.