Lech Wałęsa ordered to apologise for presidential plane crash claim
PR dla Zagranicy
Ex-Solidarity leader Lech Wałęsa has been ordered by a court to apologise for claiming the leader of Poland’s ruling conservatives was responsible for the crash of a Polish presidential plane in 2010.
PiS leader Jarosław Kaczyński (right), pictured on Wednesday. Photo: PAP/Paweł Supernak
The court in Gdańsk, northern Poland, on Thursday told Wałęsa to apologise for publicly claiming that Jarosław Kaczyński, head of the Law and Justice (PiS) party, had known the weather was bad but had issued instructions as a result of which the plane attempted to land.
The crash on April 10, 2010, killed the PiS leader’s twin brother, then-President Lech Kaczyński, the First Lady, and 94 others, mostly political and military top brass.
The plane had been trying to land at a military airport in Smolensk, western Russia.
A report issued by the previous government in Warsaw cited a catalogue of errors on the Polish side, while also pointing to errors made by Russian staff at the control tower of Smolensk Military Airport.
But according to a commission set up by Law and Justice after it came to power in late 2015, the plane was probably destroyed by a mid-air explosion and Russian air traffic controllers deliberately misled Polish pilots about their location as the presidential plane was approaching the runway.
Russia has refused to return the plane wreckage to Poland, claiming that it is continuing to investigate the crash.
Wałęsa was the leader of the Solidarity trade union movement, which helped bring down the communist regime in Poland in 1989.
He became Polish president in 1990, holding the post until 1995.