Purge at Polish paper after presidential jet crash article
WARSAW, Poland - A Polish newspaper said Tuesday, November 6, it had fired its editor and a journalist who penned an article claiming explosive traces were found on the wreck of the jet which crashed in Russia in 2010, killing then president Lech Kaczynski.
In a front-page open letter published in the daily Rzeczpospolita, its owner Grzegorz Hajdarowicz blasted the actions of editor-in-chief Tomasz Wroblewski and reporter Cezary Gmyz.
"The unthinking acts of a number of individuals once again stoked a Polono-Polish war. I ask for the forgiveness of all our readers. Mistaken decisions cannot be without consequences," Hajdarowicz wrote.
The conservative daily sparked a storm in Poland last week when it said recent tests by Polish experts had found traces of TNT and nitroglycerine on 30 seats and the area linking the fuselage with the wing.
Polish and Russian investigators had ruled out the presence of explosives after the April 2010 crash in the western city of Smolensk, and Poland's military prosecutors swiftly denied the Rzeczpospolita report.
A July 2011 Polish crash report blamed errors by the ill-trained crew for the disaster, which besides Kaczynski killed 95 other Poles, many of them high profile.
That report admitted most of the fault lay on the Polish side, but also faulted Russia, under whose jurisdiction the plane went down in thick fog as it tried to land.
It also ruled out a plethora of conspiracy theories, including sabotage, and Russian claims that pressure from third parties on the crew to land despite the bad weather.
But many in Poland give credence to the idea that the disaster was more than just an accident, and its remains a divisive political issue here.
Poland's conservative Law and Justice party -- led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the late president's twin brother -- has accused Prime Minister Donald Tusk's centrist government of failing to take Russia to task.
A Law and Justice-run parliamentary commission that probed the crash blamed Russia, claiming it had forged the testimony of Smolensk's air traffic controllers, who it alleged had misled the pilots.
The doomed delegation had been bound for a memorial ceremony in Katyn, near Smolensk, for thousands of captive Polish army officers slain by the Soviet secret police in 1940, a massacre denied by the Kremlin until 1990. - Agence France-Presse