Widow of Ukrainian pilot says she will join class action lawsuit against Iran

Rescue teams work amidst debris after a Ukrainian plane carrying 176 passengers crashed near Imam Khomeini airport in the Iranian capital Tehran early in the morning on January 8, 2020. (AFP)

The widow of the pilot of the Ukrainian airliner downed by Iran last month said she wants to join the class action lawsuit against the Islamic Republic, adding that she agrees Tehran shot down the plane deliberately.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) shot down a Ukraine International Airlines jet on January 8, killing all 176 onboard, including highly-regarded pilot Volodymyr Gaponenko.

Canadian lawyers are seeking class action status in a lawsuit on behalf of the victims of Ukrainian airliner, looking for at least $1.1 billion in compensation.

The suit alleges that the downing of the plane was “an intentional and deliberate act of terrorism.”

“I certainly want to join the class action lawsuit, and I completely agree that Iran’s action was premeditated,” said Katerina Gaponenko in an interview with Radio Farda.

“Iran carried out an act of war that night by attacking targets in a neighboring country,” said Gaponenko, pointing out that “Iranian authorities did not issue any warnings or halt passenger flights.”

Soldiers carry a coffin of one of the eleven Ukrainian victims of the Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 plane disaster during a memorial ceremony outside Kiev. January 19, 2020. (File photo: Reuters)

Soldiers carry a coffin of one of the eleven Ukrainian victims of the Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 plane disaster during a memorial ceremony outside Kiev. January 19, 2020. (File photo: Reuters)

She added that she believes Iran is still not being entirely transparent about the events of that night.

“Iranian authorities knew the plane was shot down, yet they did their best for three days to conceal the truth. Even now, they are still hiding things. Does that mean there are still things they do not want made public?” Gaponenko said.

Iran claimed for days the plane crashed due to a “technical failure,” before admitting to shooting down the plane.

Gaponenko said that she wants “everyone responsible” for the downing of flight PS752 to be punished.

She also said that she is currently looking after her husband’s parents as well as her two young daughters.

The elderly parents have been in dire medical conditions since their son was killed, according to Gaponenko.

“I am now in charge of this large family, and I expect the Ukrainian government to help us. But what can I expect from Iran? I cannot put a price on my husband’s life. They must know for themselves what the just compensation for what they did is,” she said.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:57 - GMT 06:57
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