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Daughter of Smolensk crash victim calls investigator ‘a liar’

Nowacka made the accusation during an emotional debate in the Polish parliament over the report of the disaster on Wednesday.
Marcin Obara/PAP

Barbara Nowacka, an MP and a daughter of a former minister killed in the 2010 presidential plane crash, has called the chief investigator behind a new report into the disaster “a liar” and accused him of falsifying documentation.

Nowacka made the accusation during an emotional debate in the Polish parliament over the report of the disaster on Wednesday.

On April 10, 2010, President Lech Kaczyński, his wife, and 94 others were killed when their aircraft crashed as it came in to land at a military airfield near Smolensk in western Russia.

Jarosław Kaczyński, the president of Law and Justice (PiS), the dominant force in Poland’s coalition government, and the twin of the late president, has maintained for years his brother was assassinated.

According to the report released in April by a special sub-committee investigating the cause of the air disaster and headed by Antoni Macierewicz, a prominent PiS member, the crash was a result of “an act of unlawful interference.”

The report said the disaster was caused by two explosions on the plane just before it hit the ground.

But Nowacka, an MP representing the main opposition party, the centrist Civic Coalition (KO) group, on Wednesday called for the punishment of “the Smolensk liar for falsifying documentation.” She also urged the prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, to immediately shut down the subcommittee, which has been operating for years.

Nowacka made the accusation in reference to a documentary screened by the private TV station TVN24 on Monday, which alleged that the subcommittee had chosen not to include evidence which contradicted the explosion hypothesis in their report.

Macierewicz on Tuesday refuted TVN24’s claims and said that all expert opinions had been published.

Later on Wednesday, a group of KO MPs said they were would request an extraordinary meeting of the lower house’s national defence committee to discuss the alleged falsification of documents in the report.

The sub-committee set up by PiS had annulled the original 2011 report on the disaster issued by the Polish Committee for Investigation of National Aviation Accidents, which said the main cause of the accident was pilot error in unfavourable weather conditions.

Macierewicz’s sub-committee has been sharply criticised by the opposition and some family members of the victims. Over the six years of its operation, which included exhumations of the victims’ bodies, the commission was marred by resignations of its experts, who often criticised the way the body was run.

The assassination claims, which Macierewicz has made on numerous occasions before, were refuted by Maciej Lasek, the head of the original Smolensk air disaster investigating body that concluded the crash was an accident.

Poles have been divided over whom to believe in the Smolensk disaster investigations and the issue still causes much controversy in society.


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