(Tehran) Ten Iranian servicemen have been sentenced to between one and 10 years in prison for their role in the crash of the Ukrainian Boeing shot down near Tehran in January 2020, which claimed the lives of 176 people.

The first accused, the commander of the Tor M-1 defense system, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for defying orders from his superiors by shooting down the plane, and nine other servicemen were sentenced to terms ranging from one to three years in prison, Mizan Online reported.

The defense system commander “fired two missiles at the aircraft operating Flight PS752, contrary to command post orders, without obtaining authorization and in violation of instructions,” the source added.

This is the “maximum sentence, considering the extent of the effects and consequences of his act”, according to Mizan Online.

The Judicial Authority agency did not provide details of the identity of the convicted, including four defense system officials, an air defense base commander or a control center officer. Convicts can still appeal, the source said.

On January 8, 2020, the Iranian armed forces shot down this plane belonging to the Ukraine International Airlines company connecting Tehran and Kyiv with two missiles, causing the death of 176 people on board the plane, the majority of them Iranians and Canadians, many of them dual nationals. Eleven Ukrainians were also killed.

On the night of the tragedy, Iran’s air defenses were on high alert for fear of an American attack: the Islamic Republic had just attacked a base used by the American army in Iraq in response to the elimination five days earlier, in an American strike in Baghdad, by General Qassem Soleimani, the architect of Iran’s regional strategy, and Tehran expected a response from Washington.

And in November 2021, the judicial authority announced the opening in Tehran of the trial of 10 soldiers “of different ranks” for their involvement in the case.

At the time, the Iranian judiciary indicated that “103 people [had] filed a complaint with the prosecution”, demanding “an impartial investigation […] to identify and prosecute those responsible. »

The belated recognition by the authorities had caused a crisis of confidence in Iranian officials.

The tragedy of the Boeing, on board which were many students, had also provoked indignation and anger in Iran, especially among university youth.

In early 2022, Iran said it had begun compensating some of the victims’ families by paying each “a sum of $150,000”, promising to compensate the others.

Canada, Ukraine, Sweden and the United Kingdom had relied on the 1971 Montreal Convention, which regulates offenses against civil aviation, to request this arbitration.