WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland's ruling party leader said Wednesday he wants a "very grand" monument to be put up in downtown Warsaw to honor his twin, the late President Lech Kaczynski, who was killed in a 2010 plane crash in Russia.
A new monument has been a bone of contention between the ruling party and Warsaw authorities, who recruit from the opposition. Opponents say enough has already been done to honor Kaczynski, including a commemorative plaque placed outside the presidential palace. They also argue the right time to build a monument was immediately after the crash.
But Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is Poland's most powerful politician, on Wednesday invited artists to come up with projects for a "grand, very grand" monument to be put up next year near the palace.
He described the crash as Poland's "greatest tragedy" since World War II, and insisted that the late president, who died while traveling on a state mission, should have a monument in Warsaw "just like other outstanding figures from recent history."
President Kaczynski and a Polish delegation, including top ranking officers and state officials, were on a flight to Russia to pay tribute to Polish officers killed by the Soviet secret police during World War II when their plane crashed.
Also Wednesday, a Warsaw court confirmed an earlier 1 ½-year suspended prison term for a former deputy head of government security over the crash.
In June, the official, Gen. Pawel Bielawny, was found guilty of knowingly neglecting his duties and exposing Kaczynski to danger by failing to order a proper prior inspection of the rudimentary Smolensk airport that the delegation was to go to.
It was the first conviction in the case.
He denied the charges and filed an appeal, which the court overruled Wednesday.