Middle East

Iran tampered with electronic devices of victims of Flight PS752: report

Iran condemned for refusing to meet to discuss reparations for families of 176 deceased passengers

Barry Ellsworth   | 24.11.2021
Iran tampered with electronic devices of victims of Flight PS752: report Remains of the plane are seen as search and rescue works are conducted at site after a Boeing 737 plane belonging to a Ukrainian airline crashed near Imam Khomeini Airport in Iran just after takeoff with 180 passengers on board in Tehran, Iran on January 08, 2020. ( Fatemeh Bahrami - Anadolu Agency )

TRENTON, Canada 

Iran tampered with mobile phones and tablets of some of the 176 victims who died when Flight PS752 was shot down, according to an explosive new report released Wednesday. 

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard downed the Boeing Ukrainian aircraft with a surface-to-air missile shortly after it took off Jan. 8, 2020. The dead included 55 Canadian citizens, 30 permanent residents of Canada and others heading to Canada, as well as British, Ukraine, Afghanistan and Swedish citizens.

Iran also misidentified some of the victims, according to the report prepared for the Association of the Families of Flight PS752 by a retired Toronto homicide detective.

Meanwhile, in a statement also released Wednesday, the International Coordination and Response Group chastised Iran for refusing to meet on Nov. 22.

“We, Ministers representing Canada, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom, express our deep disappointment that the Islamic Republic of Iran has not accepted our multiple requests to meet on November 22, 2021 to negotiate on the matter of reparations for the downing of Flight PS752," the statement read.

“We remind the Islamic Republic of Iran that it must fulfill its international legal responsibility to make full reparations to the Group of Countries and thus reiterate our call to negotiate in good faith and to do so before the end of this year.

The independent association report said the tampering with devices was discovered when investigators with the firm of homicide detective Mark Mendelson examined phones and tablets returned to victims' families by Iran and found "human manipulation" done in an attempt to cover up evidence.

"One likely explanation is that these electronics may have been bulldozed over in an attempt to destroy any potential evidence that victims recorded in the last minutes of their lives," the report said. "Moreover, the fact that screws were removed and covers pried open strongly suggests that concerted efforts were made to extract these components, rendering a review of data impossible."

Iran said in a report that the aircraft was shot down by "human error" after the revolutionary guard mistook it for a hostile target.

The Iranian report was rejected by the Canadian government as being "incomplete" with no facts or evidence to support the claim.

The coordination and response group said if Iran continues to stymie negotiations, it will take further action.

“Should Iran continue to avoid negotiating with the group, the Coordination Group will have no choice but to seriously consider other actions and measures to resolve this matter within the framework of international law,” the statement said.

Options would include taking the case to the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.

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