Prosecutors revealed on Tuesday that Polish plane crash victim Anna Walentynowicz was buried in the wrong grave after her remains were swapped with another victim’s.
The plane crash, which occurred in Russia in 2010, claimed the lives of Poland’s president as well as 94 others and has also served as a source of contention between Moscow and Warsaw over the past two years, reports The Chicago Tribune.
Investigators, working on suspicions that at least two bodies were mistakenly given to the wrong families, exhumed the two bodies last week. Inconsistencies in documents from Russia, who oversaw the local investigation into the disaster, raised doubts about whether the correct remains were given to families.
Unfortunately, they were correct. The remains of Walentynowicz, a Polish Solidarity activist, were not given to her family as the Russian documents stated. The new discovery has increased tensions between the two countries and will most likely lead to additional exhumations as investigators look for additional errors.
Fox News notes that the revelation will likely also spark protests by some Poles over how the investigation was handled. While Warsaw blames Moscow, the Russian authorities have blamed the crew of the government Tu-154 on April 10,2010. Colonel Zbigniew Rzepa, a spokesman for the military prosecutor’s office, stated:
“The prosecutor’s office is looking into the issue of exchanging the bodies and is investigating the evidence also from this angle.”
Autopsies on Walentynowicz’s body as well as an unidentified woman from the crash confirmed the Polish authorities’ suspicions. While Russian experts working to identify victims in the aftermath of the crash did make mistakes in their autopsy reports, Polish authorities have said that the victims’ relatives were present for some identifications.