Report: Polish team ignored info in crash that killed leader

·2 min read

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A television news report alleges a Polish government team manipulated evidence during its investigation of the 2010 plane crash that killed President Lech Kaczynski and 95 other prominent Poles, casting new doubt on the team's findings.

The leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, is the twin of the late president. The investigative team concluded that the plane crash in western Russia was an assassination plotted by Moscow.

The presidential plane was carrying a delegation for the anniversary observances of a 1940 Soviet massacre of Polish military officers when it crashed in dense fog on approach to the airport in Smolensk.

However, a professional commission for investigating aviation accidents found the April 10, 2010 crash of the Tu-154 aircraft near the rudimentary airport was an accident caused by human errors in adverse weather and technical conditions.

In its report aired late Monday, private broadcaster TVN24 said the Polish government team intentionally ignored or manipulated facts presented by outside experts that negated its findings that intentional explosions aboard the plane caused the crash.

The head of the team, former Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz, is an associate of ruling party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski. The assassination theory helps to consolidate the right-wing Law and Justice's nationalist base and is supported by Kaczynski.

In response to the TVN24 report, Macierewicz issued a statement saying the story included “lies” and that all obtained findings and opinions of experts were published in the team’s 2021 final report.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Tuesday he would like all expert opinions and findings related to the crash to be published. He said Macierewicz should be awarded a “medal” for his perseverance in the government's investigation.

Housed within the Defense Ministry, the team reexamining the 2010 plane crash has spent some 30 million zlotys ($6.5 million) on its investigation.

The Associated Press