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Another body wrongly identified in Smolensk graves scandal?

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 25.10.2012 12:05
The tomb marked 'President-in-exile Ryszard Kaczorowski' in a Warsaw temple does not contain his body, unofficial sources have informed.

Ryszard Kaczorowski: photo - PAP/Artur Reszko (archive)

The RMF radio station is reporting that this is another case of Russians wrongly identifying bodies of the 96 victims who died in the Smolensk air disaster on 10 April 2010.

In September it was revealed that the remains in a grave of leading Solidarity activist Anna Walentynowicz were not hers.

Another victim's remains, that of Teresa Walewska-Przyjałkowska, was also identified incorrectly and the two have been reburied.

Poland's military prosecutors have not confirmed the information, however.

“Samples were tested in two independent centers - in Wroclaw and Bydgoszcz, although we're still waiting to confirm information," spokesman for the military prosecutor Colonel Zbigniew Rzepa has said.

"Up until now no results [of DNA tests] have been sent to prosecutors," he told the TVP broadcaster.

Forensic teams moved in to the Temple of Divine Providence in southern Warsaw on Monday to exhume the body, where it was taken Department of Forensic Medicine in Wrocław.

After examination it was found that the remains were not of Poland's last president-in-exile but that of another Smolensk victim, claims RMF radio.

A second body was exhumed Monday morning and it is thought that the two bodies were placed in wrong graves.

The RMF report says that Kaczorowski's remains were wrongly identified by a Polish Ministry offial, although the Foreign Ministry is rejecting the claim.

“Neither the Polish Consul, nor any other Polish diplomats in Russia identified Ryszard Kaczorowski. The consul did not even have powers to do so,” an unnamed official tells RMF.

Opposition politicians, nevertheless, lined up to blame the Foreign Ministry for the disastrous mix up over the victims' bodies.

"The Foreign Minister should inform the public how this happened and who bears responsibility for this,” said leader of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) opposition party, Leszek Miller.

“If there is a fatality in a foreign state then it is the appropriate body is returned to the family,” said Law and Justice (PiS) MP Bartosz Kowcacki, who blamed consulate employees for the mistake.

Kaczorowski served as the last 'Polish president-in-exile' between 1989 and 1990 and was resident in London with two daughters.

Ryszard Kaczorowski was one of the delegation led by President Lech Kaczynski to a WW II Katyn massacre ceremony in western Russia in April 2010 when the plane went down in heavy fog near Smolensk airport killing all on board.

Military prosecutors have said that two more bodies, those of two priests, will be exhumed by the end of the year, in fear that they too have been laid to rest in wrong graves.

In total there have been seven exhumations this year of Smolensk victims remains. (pg)

Last updated at 14.04

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