Mothers Of Ukrainian Plane Victims Say IRGC Commander Should Be Arrested
Mothers of some victims of the Ukrainian plane downed by Iranian missiles on January 8 last year have published a four-minute video in which they call for the arrest of Brigadier-General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, Airspace Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
In the video published on social media on Saturday, the mothers asked Iran’s authorities to explain why they had not arrested Hajizadeh over the shooting down of flight PS752, killing all 176 passengers and crew onboard. They demanded to know who ordered the deployment of the air-defense system near the airport and who issued the order to fire at the plane. Judiciary authorities say all but one of the six people detained over the incident have been freed.
The tragedy happened hours after Iranian ballistic missiles hit United States bases in Iraq – leaving 100 American soldiers with traumatic brain injuries – in retaliation for the US killing Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad five days earlier. Tehran said the Ukrainian airliner was mistaken for an incoming Cruise missile.
Family members of some of the Iranian victims have long expressed dissatisfaction at the investigation. At a December 14 gathering of the families in front of the military courtroom where investigators are based, the father of one victim, Maryam Malek, called Hajizadeh and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif “criminals,” and demanded the trial of all those involved in shooting down the aircraft.
“Will the Aerospace Commander whose hands are soaked in the blood of our children allow proper investigation?” Malek (whose given name is unclear) said. He asked why the commander had not been removed from his position despite his responsibility for downing the plane. “A knife will not cut its own handle,” Malek noted.
In the mothers’ video, which is accompanied with a hashtag calling Hajizadeh a murderer, they protested against state-run TV’s frequent interviews with Hajizadeh in which he has spoken of the attack on US bases in Iraq as a victory against the US without mentioning the shooting down of the Ukrainian passenger plane.
“Did you name this day ‘Day of God’s Grace’ for firing at empty US bases or for the murder of 176 innocent people including 29 children?” one of the mothers asked Hajizadeh who called January 8 “Day of God Grace” in his latest interview with state-run TV on Friday.