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Parts of two bodies found in late Polish president's coffin: official

PR dla Zagranicy
Victoria Bieniek 01.06.2017 12:01
Pieces of two other bodies were found in the coffin of Polish President Lech Kaczyński, who died in the 2010 Smolensk air disaster, Deputy Prosecutor General Marek Pasionek has said.
The site of the crash in 2010. Photo: Wikimedia CommonsThe site of the crash in 2010. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Pasionek said that half of the coffins dug up so far have uncovered mix-ups. Twenty-seven exhumations have been perfomed and DNA tests on the contents of 24 of them have shown that two bodies were switched, one coffin contained only a half set of remains, and in nine cases the partial remains of other people were found in a single grave.

Jakub Kulesza, spokesman for the parliamentary club of the opposition Kukiz'15 grouping, said: “There has been absolutely reprehensible negligence. Prosecutors should find out who was responsible.”

On Thursday the Super Express daily said that the partial remains of five people were buried with flight attendant Natalia Januszko, who also died in the crash.

Earlier this week the State Prosecutor confirmed that body parts belonging to other victims were found in the coffins of two Polish generals. Their bodies were exhumed as part of a new inquiry into the crash.

Lech Kaczyński and his wife were exhumed in November last year when the State Prosecutor started to dig up 83 victims in a new investigation into the disaster.

A total of 96 people died, including then-President Lech Kaczyński, when his presidential plane crashed in Smolensk, western Russia, on 10 April 2010.

New probe

The State Prosecutor took over a probe into the crash after the conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party – headed by Jarosław Kaczyński, twin brother of the late president – swept to power in October 2015 elections.

PiS has long challenged an official report into the crash issued by the previous Polish government which cited a catalogue of errors on the Polish side, while also pointing to errors made by Russian staff at the control tower of Smolensk Military Airport.

A Russian report placed all the blame on the Poles.

A commission holding a new investigation recently said the plane was probably destroyed by a mid-air explosion, adding that Russian air traffic controllers deliberately misled Polish pilots about their location as the presidential plane was approaching the runway of the Smolensk military airport in 2010.

Bodies mixed up

The State Prosecutor started exhumations last year after errors were allegedly found in Russian forensic documents. The prosecutor's office said the bodies of 83 victims would be exhumed – despite protests by some of the victims’ families – all except the four that were cremated and the nine that had previously been reexamined.

Six of those nine earlier exhumations revealed that bodies had been wrongly identified and consequently buried in the wrong graves.

So far, 27 of the 83 exhumations planned under the new probe have been carried out.

Thirty more exhumations are planned this year and the last 26 are scheduled for 2018.

As well as confirming identities, Polish state prosecutors are performing new autopsies and taking samples for screening. (vb/pk)

Source: IAR

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