Some of the families of Canadians who lost loved ones after the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 in January are saying the compensation offered to them from the Iranian government is “a slap in the face.”
The government announced it will allocate $150,000 to the families of the victims who were on the plane when it was shot down by Iranian forces.
“It’s very difficult for us, everybody is celebrating (New Year’s Eve) tonight but for us, the families of Flight 752, the only hope that we have is hope for justice for the new year,” Hamed Esmaeilion of the Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims told Global News Thursday.
Esmaeilion lost both his wife and nine-year-old daughter in the crash.
He wants to see those responsible be held to account in an international court of justice.
“We want to see the criminals in an international court of justice so an impartial independent court. As we talk right now, the Iranian government is going home by home in Iran to the families and they are asking them to sign settlements or to get the compensation and walk away.”
Tehran has blamed the downing on human error, claiming Iranian forces fired after mistakenly identifying the plane as a threat.
In a report released this summer, it blamed those manning a misaligned surface-to-air missile battery, saying they opened fire without getting approval from ranking officials.
Questions remain over the identities of the people deemed responsible and countries including Canada have called on Iran to disclose all relevant evidence.
“I myself have nothing to lose and I’m sure most of the families, they’d like to speak but it’s a very difficult time for them right now,” Esmaeilion said.
Of the 176 aboard the flight, 55 were Canadian citizens and 30 were permanent residents, according to the federal government.
“(The victim’s families), they’re all over the world, they’re in the UK, Switzerland, U.S., here in Canada, but they have one voice,” Esmaeilion added.
“All of us are united in this that Iran should not be in charge of this investigation and Iran should pay for this mass murder of 176 innocent people.”
He is hoping international pressure on the Iranian government will help bring justice for those who lost loved ones in the crash.
Former Canadian cabinet minister Ralph Goodale, charged with helping the victims’ families and examining how to deal with similar disasters in future, said on Dec. 15 “many of the key details of this horrific event” remain unknown.
“Iran…has not conducted its investigations (safety, criminal or otherwise) in a truly independent, objective and transparent manner, and answers to critical questions” are absent, he wrote in the report.
— with files from Stewart Bell and Reuters