Iranian state media published photographs of the trial investigating the 2020 downing of a Ukrainian airliner by the country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guards
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Iranian state media on Monday published photographs of the trial investigating the downing of a Ukrainian airliner in 2020 by the country’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guards, trying to quell criticism of the proceedings largely behind closed doors.
The Mizan News Agency, a branch of the country’s justice system, showed photos from inside the military courtroom, with at least one man and woman holding up photos identified as victims of the Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 crashed. Missile strikes killed all 176 people aboard the January 3, 2020 flight.
But online, people have reacted angrily to the image of a judge sitting in front of a large billboard that euphemistically read: “The court examining the PS752 Ukraine flight incident.” They called on the court to make it clear that the plane had been shot down. by the Guard.
The official IRNA news agency said the trial which began on Sunday will see 10 suspects tried. Iranian media did not identify those charged, and some photos published by Mizan had fuzzy faces.
An association of families of the victims also criticized the hearing, saying in a Facebook post that they “did not recognize the court”.
After three days of denial in January 2020 in the face of growing evidence, Iran finally admitted that the Guard mistakenly shot down the Ukrainian airliner with two surface-to-air missiles. In preliminary reports on last year’s disaster, Iranian authorities accused an air defense operator who they said mistook the Boeing 737-800 for a US cruise missile.
The shooting took place the same day Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on US troops in Iraq in retaliation for a US drone strike that killed a senior Iranian general. While Guard officials have publicly apologized for the incident, Iran’s reluctance to explain what happened in the incident shows the power the force is wielding.