Mixed-up remains found in Smolensk victim’s coffin: State Prosecutor
PR dla Zagranicy
Body parts not belonging to General Bronisław Kwiatkowski have been found in his coffin after his remains were exhumed in an ongoing inquiry into the 2010 Smolensk crash, a spokesperson for the State Prosecutor has said.
The crashed Polish presidential plane near Smolensk, western Russia, in 2010. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Bartosz Staszewski, PRS Team.net. (CC BY-SA 2.5)
On Monday morning, the Fakt newspaper said that parts of at least seven other people were found in the coffin of Kwiatkowski, who died with then-President Lech Kaczyński and 94 others when the Polish presidential plane crashed in Smolensk, western Russia.
But the prosecutor’s spokesperson did not confirm the number of mixed-up parts.
A 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, ongoing 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
A new investigation started exhumations last year because of errors allegedly found in Russian forensic documents. The Polish State Prosecutor 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, 25 of the 83 exhumations planned under the new probe have been carried out. Two coffins have contained the wrong sets of remains, while five others contained other people’s body parts.
Thirty-two 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.