A war of words erupted between politicians from Law and Justice (PiS) and the Polish military prosecutor’s office after the latter revealed testimony it had gathered from members of a PiS-led parliamentary commission investigating the causes of the 2010 Smolensk catastrophe in which President Lech Kaczyński and 95 others perished.
Last week, daily Gazeta Wyborcza published leaked transcripts of military prosecutors’ questioning of parliamentary commitee members who suggest that the late Polish president, a co-founder of PiS, had in fact been assassinated, most likely on the orders of the Kremlin.
According to the disclosed testimonies, which were taken this year, one member of the committee, which is made up mostly of academics, told prosecutors that his expertise in investigating plane crashes comes from constructing model airplanes in his childhood. Another of the committee’s members reportedly said he knew a lot about how planes were constructed because he had closely observed the wings of planes while on passenger flights.
The leaked testimonies caused a furore in the Polish media. Antoni Macierewicz, PiS MP and head of the parliamentary investigative committee, defended his colleagues. He called the revelations part of a “brutal witch hunt targeted at Polish academics.” Mr Macierewicz also reaffirmed his earlier statement that “the Polish pilots [of the Tu-154 plane] were led to their deaths,” and that “an explosion occurred” on the plane.
Meanwhile, Marcin Maksjan, a spokesman for the Military Prosecutor’s Office, stated later that “not one member” of Mr Macierewicz’s team was able to present evidence supporting their theories on the disaster.
Official Polish and Russian reports have stated that the Smolensk plane crash was an accident but PiS politicians have continued to cast doubt on those findings.
Roughly a third of Poles believe that Lech Kaczyński was assassinated in Smolensk, according to a Homo Homini survey taken on the third anniversary of the tragedy in April this year.
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