Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Canadian Lawyers File Lawsuit Against Iran Over Downing Ukrainian Plane

Canadian Lawyers File Lawsuit Against Iran Over Downing Ukrainian Plane

Saturday, 8 February, 2020 - 06:15
FILE PHOTO: Hundreds attended a candle light vigil for the victims of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS-752 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada January 9, 2020. REUTERS/Blair Gable
Asharq Al-Awsat

Canadian lawyers, who previously successfully sued Iran, are now seeking to take action again on behalf of victims aboard the Ukrainian plane shot down over Tehran last month, looking for at least $1.1 billion in compensation.

Tehran earlier admitted its missiles downed the Ukrainian airliner by mistake on Jan. 8, which killed all 176 people aboard, including 57 Canadians.

The lawsuit was filed against Iran, its supreme leader, the elite Revolutionary Guards and others as defendants. It alleges that the downing of the plane was “an intentional and deliberate act of terrorism.”

The lead plaintiff in the case is anonymous, preliminarily identified as John Doe, and described as immediate family to a victim identified as Jack Doe. According to the filing his identity should remain unknown to avoid putting his family at risk.

“His Iranian family would be put at risk of harm or death by the Iranian regime,” it said, Reuters reported.

Another lawyer, known as Jonah Arnold, is co-lead counsel with his father Mark Arnold, who has represented clients in several suits against Iran, including a 2017 appeal decision that led to seizure of some Iranian assets in Canada.

The 2017 ruling was in a case brought by US victims of bombings, killings and kidnappings that US courts ruled Tehran was responsible for. However, the plaintiffs could not claim the $1.7 billion in judgments in the US.

It was not clear whether Iran has any assets remaining in Canada. Arnold said the case would likely unfold over years, and any judgment could be renewed and enforced in the future.

“Providing a voice for the families and seeking compensation for them in the courts is the primary objective,” Jonah Arnold said.

“When we get there, and we need to look for those assets, that’s what we’ll do.”

Editor Picks