Three years after PS752 was shot down, victims' families say they're still pushing Ottawa to act
Today marks three years since Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) fired a pair of surface-to-air missiles at a civilian plane over the skies of Tehran, killing all 176 people onboard.
Most of the passengers on Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 were on their way to Canada. Fifty-five Canadians and 30 permanent residents died when the aircraft was destroyed — some of them young children.
Many of the victims' families have spent the past three years channeling their grief into action. They say they've clocked about 28,000 hours of volunteer work searching for answers, organizing protests and pressing for justice.
Hamed Esmaeilion is spokesperson for the association representing the victims' families in Canada. His nine-year-old daughter Reera and wife Parisa Eghbalian died when Flight PS752 went down.
He said the families shouldn't have had to push the government so hard to take action, or go to extremes like hiring a former police detective and writing a 200-pages-plus fact-finding report.
"This is the first time in the history of aviation that the families of the victims have to go and find the military experts and aviation experts and provide this kind of report," said Esmaeilion.
"This is too much on the shoulders of a grieving person."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to the families privately on Friday. He told them the government will stand with the families until the end, said Esmaeilion.
Still, the families have a list of outstanding demands. The government has adopted some of their demands — but not all of them.
Here is how those demands stand now.
The U.S. did it. There are reports the U.K. is going to do it. The European Union is considering it.
In 2018, the House of Commons overwhelmingly passed a resolution urging the government to list the entire IRGC as a terrorist organization. The Trudeau government backed that Conservative motion.
But despite the motion, and the relentless calls from victims' families, politicians and activists, Canada's government has not designated the entire Iranian paramilitary organization as a terrorist entity under the Criminal Code.
Justice Minister David Lametti told a press conference last year that the government fears that a terror listing under the Code would be too "blunt" an instrument. He said some Iranians are forced to serve in the IRGC in low-level roles and the government doesn't want to target "innocent people."
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