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Bodies of two Smolensk plane crash victims exhumed

26th March 2012
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Two bodies belonging to victims of the April 10, 2010 Smolensk airplane crash were exhumed last week, following doubts about the accuracy of initial Russian autopsies.

The body of former Polish Deputy Prime Minister Przemysław Gosiewski, who was among the 96 who died in the Smolensk tragedy, was disinterred at Warsaw’s Powązki Military Cemetery last Monday on the orders of Poland’s Chief Military Prosecutor, following a request by his widow.

Using his Polish medical records as a comparison, Polish medical examiners discovered that Mr Gosiewski’s height and weight had been estimated incorrectly by Russian medical officials. Rafał Rogalski, a plenipotentiary of the Smolensk victims’ families, told radio station RMF FM that during the Polish autopsy of Mr Gosiewski’s body, “Some items were found that shouldn’t have been there.”

On Tuesday of last week, the body of former Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) head Janusz Kurtyka was exhumed at a cemetery in Kraków, also due to doubts about the Russian autopsy. The results of the Polish autopsy were unknown as WBJ went to press.

Speaking to parliament when the decision to exhume the two bodies became known, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said, “I do not understand the determination of families to exhume the bodies of victims of the disaster, but you have to respect their needs.”

He added that after a catastrophe like the one at Smolensk, “It is difficult to expect that all data about the bodies was perfect – it is obvious in what state the bodies were found.”

From Warsaw Business Journal by Gareth Price

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