Russia says no delay in transfer of Kaczynski crash data

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Russian prosecutors will decide when to hand over to Warsaw evidence from a plane crash in which Polish president Lech Kaczynski died, an official said Thursday after Poland complained of a delay.

The Tupolev 154 crashed in thick fog on Russian territory on April 10, killing 96 people including Kaczynski, and Russia has yet to hand over to Poland the black box data and voice recorders.

"This decision must be taken by the prosecutors office, an organ of power which is independent from the government. As soon as the office makes this decision, there will be no technical problems in sending the original black boxes," deputy prime minister Sergey Ivanov told Interfax news agency.

The prosecutor's office was not available for comment.

On May 31, Russia sent Poland transcipts of the cockpit conversations aboard the doomed plane, but said its investigation had not been completed.

At the start of August, Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk demanded an explanation from Moscow over the delay in the transfer of further documents on the crash.

The documents could shed light on the role played in the crash by Russian air traffic controllers and technical equipment at the remote and unsophisticated airport in Smolensk, western Russia, Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza reported earlier this month.

The conservative Law and Justice party, lead by the late president's twin brother Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has launched an investigation into the accident, and has not ruled out criminal activity or a terrorist attack.

© 2010 AFP

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