A top IRGC commander and a multitude of senior officials have been rendered immune from justice in Iran over the lethal downing of a passenger plane last January, according to the Association of Families of Flight 752 Victims.
The Ukrainian Airlines flight was shot out of the skies over Tehran by two missiles fired by the Revolutionary Guards on January 8 last year. All 176 people aboard were killed. To date, no-one has been held accountable in Iran for the disaster, which a Canadian civil court has ruled was an intentional act of terror.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the Association, which represents families bereaved by the atrocity in Iran and abroad, said the Islamic Republic’s military tribunal in Tehran had recently issued a notice to families who had filed a lawsuit, informing them that a plethora of senior decision-makers would be immune from prosecuting.
According to this notice, Iranian courts have prohibited the criminal prosecution of the government, the Supreme National Security Council, the IRGC and its Aerospace Force, the Unified Air Defense Forces, the Defense Forces and Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization (CAO). In addition it said Hossein Salami, commander-in-chief of the IRGC, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC Aerospace Force, and Ali Abedzadeh, former head of the CAO, could not stand trial in connection with the case.
Instead, it put forward a series of names of low-ranking IRGC subordinates of who were charged only with participating in manslaughter, negligence, recklessness, and failing to observe official duties. They were IRGC Captain Mehdi Khosravi (a TOR M-1 commander), IRGC First Lieutenant Meysam Kheirollahi (an operator), IRGC Third Lieutenant Seyed Ahmad Miri (another operator), IRGC First Lieutenant Mohammad Majid Eslam Doost, IRGC Captain Sajjad Mohammadi, IRGC Major Hamed Mabhout, army Colonel Mostafa Farati, IRGC Second Brigadier General Ibrahim Safaei Kia and IRGC Brigadier General Ali Akbar Seydoun.
In its statement, the Association pointed out that the Iranian judiciary operated at the behest of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and as a fully compromised entity, was “manifestly unfit” to prosecute the case. “The real culprits of this heinous crime have all been arbitrarily exonerated—or in some cases, such as the Supreme Leader, completely bypassed,” it added. “This includes the Supreme National Security Council, who ordered the skies be kept open and used innocent civilians as human shields; the IRGC and its high command, who are directly implicated in the shooting of at least two missiles at a passenger jet; the government’s top officials, who conspired to lie and deceive to hide their crime; and Ali Khamenei, who is ultimately responsible for the crime as the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of Iran. The blame, according to Iran’s military courts, entirely falls on the low-ranking subordinates.
“These proceedings are in stark contrast to the findings of Canada’s forensic report, which on multiple levels implicated the highest-ranking officials of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the downing of Flight PS752. The Iranian regime has provided no explanations except lies and deception in the past twenty months, and once again it did not hesitate to sacrifice the truth in this shameful frame-up of justice.” Once again, the Association called for an impartial international tribunal to establish the facts of the case and determine who was responsible for the atrocity.