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Iran Plane Crash Victims Granted Damages

Intentional Missile Attack Ruled as Terrorism, Iran Found at Fault in Canadian Court

Families of the Flight 752 seeking relief for the loss of their families aboard Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 found themselves victorious in their fight, when Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba found on a balance of probabilities that the intentional release of the missiles on the part of Iranian personnel amounted to an act of terrorism.

That finding results in the invalidation of Iran's immunity against civil litigation, which led to the finding of a $107 million CAD verdict for the families. 

Flight 752 was leaving Tehran for Ukraine on January 8, 2020, when it was downed by two missiles fired by local Iranian anti-air defenses. The country made a poor showing as it placed blame on engine fires or incompetent pilotage, but ultimately confessed that an officer mistook the untimely aircraft for a hostile missile during the highly contentious period. The country at that time was on high alert following an American drone strike on Iranian Command staff that killed 10. Over 100 of the 176 passengers killed had ties to Canada, including 55 Canadian citizens, with many being Iranian-born college students returning to school after the Christmas holiday. Belobaba awarded $7 million in compensatory damages and $100 million in punitive, plus interest, to the family members that went to court. 

The verdict was reviewed in a virtual news conference held by lawyers and families of the victims, where the case was described as "unprecedented in Canadian law." Earlier that week, Belobaba had said he felt the outcome was “just and appropriate and in accord with the applicable law," but was open to the possibility of appellate review to assure the appropriate framework was used in reaching the verdict. The conference inflamed anonymous internet viewers, when the lawyers for the family taunted the attending Iranians, hinting that they would be able to obtain the damages without issue. “If anybody from the Islamic Republic of Iran is on this call, if the Supreme Leader is on this call, we’re coming after your assets, gentlemen,” said Arnold. Soon after, as happens in public online conferences, the meeting was flooded with irritating noise and pornography until the hosts ended the call. 



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