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EU’s Tusk ‘not afraid’ after facing prosecutors in Warsaw

PR dla Zagranicy
Paweł Kononczuk 04.08.2017 08:00
Former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said he was “not afraid” after being questioned by prosecutors in Warsaw for more than eight hours on Thursday in an investigation related to the 2010 Polish presidential plane crash near Smolensk, western Russia.
 Donald Tusk. Photo: PAP/Marcin Obara Donald Tusk. Photo: PAP/Marcin Obara

Tusk, who was prime minister of Poland from 2007 to 2014 and is now a top European Union official, testified as a witness in the inquiry, which is probing mistakes in autopsies of the crash victims.

After leaving the prosecutor’s office, Tusk declined to give details of the questioning, citing legal reasons. He remarked, however, that he had “nothing to be afraid of.” He also said that he would not be “frightened” by his domestic arch-rival Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, “no matter how fiercely he tries to attack me.”

Ahead of the hearing Kaczyński suggested that Tusk “should be afraid.”

After emerging from questioning, Tusk said that the “the whole context in this case is political.”

He also said that Poland’s ruling conservatives were seeking to turn the justice system into a “tool against their political rivals, the opposition and people whom they dislike.”

“I'm afraid I belong to this group,” Tusk said.

According to the National Public Prosecutor's Office in Warsaw, the inquiry is one of eight probes related to the crash and involves allegations of negligence by public officials, including prosecutors.

The ruling conservative Law and Justice party has said that Polish officials were not in Russia in the crucial hours after the crash and did not ask to be at the autopsies.

Tusk, currently European Council president, was Poland's prime minister at the time of the crash. The health minister, the justice minister, the foreign minister and prosecutors of the day have already been heard in the inquiry.

A crowd of supporters and opponents met Tusk before his hearing in Warsaw, much as before his April hearing as a witness in a spying probe.

In April 2016, the National Public Prosecutor's Office took over investigations into the 2010 Smolensk disaster, which killed 96 people, including then-President Lech Kaczyński – Jarosław Kaczyński's twin – and many top military and political figures.

The prosecution started to exhume all the bodies that were neither cremated nor previously exhumed following allegations of errors in Russian autopsy reports.

The prosecution last week said that nearly half of the DNA tests on exhumed bodies so far have shown that body parts, and even entire sets of remains, were mixed up.

Parts of as many as eight different people were found in a single coffin.


Source: PAP

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