Dozens gather in Sask. to remember flight PS752 victims, renew calls for government action

176 people were killed on Flight PS752 when it was downed over Iran on Jan. 8, 2020. Saskatoon is joining a chorus of people across the world calling for action to hold the regime accountable. (Kayla Guerrette/CBC - image credit)
176 people were killed on Flight PS752 when it was downed over Iran on Jan. 8, 2020. Saskatoon is joining a chorus of people across the world calling for action to hold the regime accountable. (Kayla Guerrette/CBC - image credit)

Exactly three years ago, flight PS752 was downed over Iran by the country's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and on Sunday, a group gathered at the University of Saskatchewan are again calling on Ottawa to hold Iran's government accountable.

The group is joining those in about 100 other cities across the world, according to a website created by the families of the victims to unite those who are grieving and seek justice for their loved ones.

The global demonstrations are meant to draw attention to the downed flight and the current protests in Iran which oppose the regime's oppressive police force, called the morality police.

"There is no tangible action from the Canadian government in two years," Pooyan Arab, one of the Saskatoon event's organizers, said about the national response to the downed flight.

Of the 176 people on board the flight, 55 were Canadian citizens and 30 were permanent residents. Everyone on the flight was killed.

In late December 2022, the International Coordination and Response Group announced that ministers from Canada, Ukraine, Sweden and the United Kingdom had requested Iran's regime submit to binding arbitration under an international dispute resolution process governed by the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation.

A similar attempt from the international group to negotiate with Iran was dismissed in early 2022, according to a statement from the Canadian government, which said the regime showed "no interest in adhering to its international legal obligations."

Arab said the political moves and legislation from Canada aren't enough, and he wants to see more action. He also said the event would echo the voices of those protesting in Iran.

LISTEN | CBC speaks with husband of woman who died on flight PS752 as Canada continues attempts to hold Iran accountable:

Those protests began in September 2022 following the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, in police custody.

Amini was accused of failing to properly wear her hijab and was arrested by the morality police. Her family says she was beaten to death.

Since then, hundreds of deaths have been linked to the crackdown on protests

"I almost have my entire family in Iran — I mean, I have my parents here and my brother — but everyone else is in Iran; I just want their voices heard," Arab said.

"What we're trying to do is make Iran a better place for those who are living there."

Kayla Guerrette/CBC
Kayla Guerrette/CBC

Several speakers took to the podium at the event Sunday, including Brad Redekopp, Saskatoon West MP, to address the situation in Iran.

He criticized the government response, saying, "we all know about the protests, the executions of the young and the hopeful, whose lives are being taken by an unjust and tyrannical government," he said.

"We must not let these lives be lost in vain."