A Syrian man accused of smuggling migrants and participating in a vehicle chase with police has been released by a Polish court despite prosecutors requesting he remain in detention.
The incident occurred one week ago in Hajnówka. Police officers were inspecting vehicles travelling in the area, and they ordered a van driver with a German license plate to stop. The man briefly complied until he violently took off and almost ran over one of the police officers.
The police immediately gave chase. A few kilometers down the road, the van crashed into another car and stopped at a nearby ditch.
“The police officers who were chasing the vehicle noticed that a group of people had escaped into the nearby forest. After a several minutes long search, the officers found 10 people and determined that they were Syrian citizens who were illegally residing in Poland. Among them was the van driver who was detained,” the police reported.
The 33-year-old was charged with assisting the illegal crossing of the Polish border, not stopping for a roadside inspection, and attempted assault of a police officer.
The prosecutor filed a request for the temporary detention of the Syrian smuggler to the Hajnówka regional court, but the court instead decided to release the man. According to the court’s explanation filed to the prosecutor’s office, the court had exhausted all possible actions in the case.
The Syrian had not disputed his guilt and was questioned along with the migrants he was transporting and the police officers who gave chase.
“The man had promised that he would cooperate with law enforcement authorities and would willingly submit to penalization. In this case, the court decided that there were no grounds for the Syrian’s temporary detention,” a TVP Info journalist explained, adding that the prosecutor’s office will appeal the court’s decision.
A second appeals court will also investigate the matter. If a prison sentence is determined in the man’s case and he escaped outside of Poland’s borders, then an arrest warrant will be issued.
The issue lies in the fact that if the man is already outside of Poland’s territory, then police supervision cannot be imposed on him. The regional court claimed that a prison sentence will most likely be imposed on the Syrian as the he had not been previously convicted or arrested.