: Smolensk tragedy witnesses testify in court

14:30 Apr. 27, 2016

Smolensk tragedy witnesses testify in court

Emergency ministry workers preparing to load the wreckage of the Polish presidential plane on transporter just outside the Smolensk airport, western Russia, Wednesday, April 14, 2010. (AP photo)

Five Polish high-rank officers are accused of failing to do their job

First witnesses are set to speak in court during the hearing of the case of the deadly aircraft crash in Smolensk, Russia that took lives of 95 people, including Poland's former president Lech Kaczynski.

Five Polish high-ranked officers are accused of nonfulfillment of their job duties, the prosecutors report.

One of the accused is Tomasz Arabski, the former Head of President's Chancellery. The prosecutors insist he didn't fulfill his coordinative tasks, neither did he figure out the status of the Smolensk airport where the presidential delegation was supposed to land. Arabski's lawyers claim their client's duties did not correspond with the job responsibilities he was supposed to implement. At the beginning of the trial in late March, Arabski did not attend the court.

Apart from Tomasz Arabski, two more Chancellery workers are on the accused bench, as well as two more persons from Poland's embassy in Moscow.

On April 10th, 2010, airplane Tu-154 crashed near the Russian town of Smolensk, with then-President of Poland Lech Kaczynski and his wife aboard the aircraft. Along with 96 high-ranked officers and members of parliament they were heading to Smolensk to attend the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre - a series of mass executions of Poles carried out by the Soviet Secret police in 1940. But as the aircraft was descending, it reportedly struck trees and crashed near the airport.

Read also Reports surface in Polish media about Russia's alleged replacement of Smolensk crash victims' bodies

Russia was accused of being behind the crash, though Kremlin officials claim it was pilot error. Poles still demand answers, that is why on April, 4th, 2016 Poland's state prosecutors office renewed the trial hiring a new investigative team.

Read also Smolensk crash: There were explosions on board of presidential Tu-154

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