Relatives of PS752 crash victims are still seeking justice two years later

“My son is 13. He understands but it is a very, very difficult situation for my son.”

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Relatives of the victims of Ukrainian Airlines flight PS752 say they are still in pain two years after the plane was shot down outside Tehran, Iran.

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Ukrainian Airlines flight PS752 took off from Tehran International Airport on the morning of January 8, 2020. Several minutes later, it was hit by two surface-to-air missiles, killing all 176 people on board, 138 of whom were on board. had ties to Canada.

Two passengers, Arshia Arbabbahrami and Kasra Saati, were due to return to Calgary after visiting friends and family in Iran. Mahfam Mahroyan, Saati’s wife, said her husband is returning to Canada after spending part of his paternal leave in Iran. Mahroyan and their two children were to return a few days later.

“I cry a lot today. It is difficult for my children. My daughter asks me about her father, ”said Mahroyan. “She doesn’t understand what I’m saying and once again asks me to ask daddy to wake up.” She wants to go to the park with daddy. My son is 13 years old. He understands but it is a very, very difficult situation for my son.

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Mahroyan said that after the plane was shot down, she stayed in Iran for six months. She said when she returned to Calgary with her son and daughter, now two and 13, they found sadness in the places they passed with Saati. Their home was a reminder of wasted time and the football pitch was a reminder of past lessons for their son, Mahroyan said.

“It was very sad in Calgary and that’s the main reason I moved to Toronto… my son was very sad in this city. When I got here it was better, just a little better, ”said Mahroyan.

Mahroyan said she had little support from the government. She said she was told that her husband had not worked in Canada long enough to collect a pension and that there was no insurance coverage.

Arshia Arbabbahrami was 18 when he was killed. He was due to return to Calgary to complete another semester at Western Canada High School after spending the holidays with his parents in Iran. After his death, Arbabbahrami was described by friends as an aspiring doctor and champion of tai chi.

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Arshia Arbabbahrami was in grade 12 at Western Canada High School.  He died aboard Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752.
Arshia Arbabbahrami was in grade 12 at Western Canada High School. He died aboard Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752. Facebook photo by photo

Vigils for the 176 people killed on board were held in cities across Canada, including Edmonton and Toronto, on Saturday by the Association of Families of Victims of Flight PS752.

The vigils and anniversary come as a coalition of countries, including Canada, announced that Iran missed a recent deadline to negotiate a settlement for the families.

Iran initially denied any wrongdoing following the theft. However, after several days of pressure from Western countries and after videos of the rockets hitting the plane surfaced online, they admitted to accidentally downing the plane. After conducting a report – the legitimacy of which is in doubt – Iran said the plane was wrongly identified as hostile.

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The plane was shot down at a time when tensions were high in the region.

The victims association has called for tougher action by Canada against Iran as they demand justice. They made those calls again on Saturday.

“They told us to be patient and we listened. They told us all options were on the table and we waited for those options to be checked. But now, after two years, we realize that our patience has not paid off, ”spokesman Hamed Esmaeilion said at a memorial in Toronto.

Esmaeilion demanded that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which is part of the Iranian military, be labeled a terrorist group, that the case against Iran be brought before an international tribunal as well as the United Nations. international civil aviation. They also want the RCMP to launch a criminal investigation into the accident. The national police have previously said they will support the investigations carried out by the Ukrainian forces.

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  1. People analyze the fragments and remains of the Ukraine International Airlines plane that was shot down by Iran on January 8, 2020.

    Condemned from the start: Last minutes of flight PS752 over Iran revealed in cockpit recording

  2. Reza Akbari, past president of the Iranian Heritage Society of Edmonton.

    “We are all stranded on January 8, 2020”: a year later, the Iranian community in Edmonton continues to mourn the fall of flight PS752

  3. Rescue teams at the scene of a downed Ukrainian airliner shortly after take off near Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital Tehran on January 8, 2020.

    Iran falsified cell phones of Flight 752 victims in possible cover-up attempt: report

“Our patience is exhausted. Today is the day diplomacy ends and justice begins. Criminals don’t speak the language of diplomacy, justice is not negotiable, ”Esmaeilion said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking after Esmaeilion, said his government would “vigorously” pursue international mechanisms to seek justice.

“Canada will stand united with the members of the coordination group. We will not rest until Iran is held accountable, ”Trudeau said.

Jason Kung, spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada, said the government was outraged by Iran’s refusal to cooperate and Canada remained committed to seeking answers and achieving justice for the victims.

“The fall of theft PS752 is a Canadian tragedy. Families and victims are at the heart of our efforts in pursuit of transparency, justice and accountability for this tragedy, ”said Krug.

With files from The Canadian Press

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Elna M. Lemons