Iranian Military Commander Sentenced for Shooting Down Passenger Plane

Iranian Military Commander Sentenced for Shooting Down Passenger Plane

( – Tensions erupted between the US and Iran after the assassination of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani by a US drone attack in Iraq on January 3, 2020. Five days later, members of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) shot down a passenger plane over Tehran, killing all 176 individuals onboard, after reportedly misidentifying the aircraft as an American cruise missile. State-run media out of Iran recently reported on the sentencing of several individuals for their role in the incident, including a military commander.

On April 16, the Mehr News Agency reported that an Iranian military court issued a final verdict regarding the downing of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752. Cryptically, the article stated that the court “found as many as 10 people guilty” for their role in the deadly incident. The report also noted that the “main defendant,” the commander of the Tor M1 surface-to-air missile system that took down the plane, received a 13-year prison sentence.

The report noted that the court reached its verdict after concluding a three-year investigation and hearing the testimony of 55 individuals argued by 20 lawyers. It also considered forensic medical reports, international research, informant statements, military reports, and the opinion of experts.

The Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims issued a press release shortly after the verdict lashing out at the court’s “sham ruling.” The group began by stating that they “never recognized” Iran’s military court as a “legitimate tribunal” and never will. Additionally, the association noted that the court failed to prosecute the “main perpetrators of this crime” or any high-ranking commanders. Instead, Iranian officials showcased 10 “low-ranking officers,” shielded by “total obscurity” regarding their identities or backgrounds.

The press statement also demanded that the countries impacted by the downing of the flight refer the matter to the International Court of Justice. It also wants international authorities to designate the IRGC as a “terrorist entity.”

The organization concluded its remarks by vowing to continue seeking “justice and truth” for the victims of Flight PS752.

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