Iran harasses families of those killed in downed Ukrainian plane, says Rights Watchdog
Iranian security agencies harassed and mistreated the families of the victims of the Ukrainian passenger plane shot down by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) after take off from Tehran last year, Human Rights Watch said on the 27th. may.
“Iran’s Revolutionary Guards killed 176 people without any responsibility, and now Iran’s brutal security agencies are abusing family members of the victims to crush any hope of justice,” said Michael Page, deputy director for the Middle East to Human Rights Watch.
Days after official denials following the January 2020 tragedy, Iran admitted that an IRGC unit inadvertently shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 when it fired two missiles amid tensions increased with the United States over the American drone strike that killed high-level General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad.
Iran’s final report on the incident cited “human error” and a broken radar communication system with a military unit as the reason the plane was shot down. But Tehran has been criticized by the UN, Canada and Ukraine for misleading statements and a lack of transparency on the investigation. Iranian authorities have also provided little public information on the 10 people indicted for their role in the incident.
The majority of the victims were Iranians and Canadians, whose families demanded transparency and accountability. The Iranian government allocated $ 150,000 to compensate each passenger’s family, but some families refused the money.
Human Rights Watch said it spoke to 31 family members of the victims and others with first-hand knowledge of Iranian authorities’ treatment of the families of the victims. They said Iranian security agents arbitrarily detained, summoned, interrogated, tortured and otherwise mistreated family members of the victims.
Agencies have also interfered with funerals and memorial gatherings in an apparent attempt to crush calls for accountability.
Human Rights Watch said at least 16 people said security agencies threatened them not to participate in media interviews and summoned relatives or friends of victims who attended the memorials. In one case, security guards tortured a detained person and in another threatened a family member of a victim with prosecution for denouncing the authorities.
After Iran admitted that its forces shot down the plane, protests that erupted in several Iranian cities were met with rubber bullets, pepper spray and tear gas. Human Rights Watch said courts convicted at least 20 people in connection with the protests.
“Iranian authorities have continued to harass and pressure people who publicly denounce the government’s mismanagement of the investigation and demands for accountability,” Page said.
“All governments involved in the investigation of the downed Flight 752 should ensure that the rights of the families of the victims are protected in order to pursue real accountability, including holding those responsible criminally accountable and providing the families with adequate compensation. . he added.