Afghan migrants file compensation lawsuit against Polish Border Guard for wrongful detention

Polish security forces surround migrants stuck on the border with Belarus in Usnarz Górny, Poland, on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

Three Afghans who illegally entered Poland from Belarus in August 2021 and were transported to the border after being processed by Polish border guards are demanding a total of €51,200 in “compensation for their wrongful detention.” The prosecutor and representative of the Border Guard are seeking the dismissal of the compensation request.

In August 2021, due to the intervention of activists providing humanitarian aid at the border with Belarus, the Afghans did not leave Poland and were taken to a center for foreign nationals. They now reside in Germany and the United Kingdom.

The hearings started on Monday at the district court in the eastern Polish city of Białystok. The Afghan nationals are being represented by lawyers from the Legal Intervention Association. The compensation request, totaling €17,000 for each of the three Afghans, is based on the earlier decision by a local court in Hajnówka, which found the actions against the migrants to be “unjustified and improper.”

The prosecution and a Border Guard staff member are representing the state treasury in the matter and seek the dismissal of the compensation request.

A witness questioned on Monday, who works as a reporter, recounted how she found the three men. The witness told the court that she had met three Afghan nationals in a village in the Białowieża Forest.

“I explained their situation to them, meaning that I have to notify the Border Guard now. I asked them if they knew what they wanted to do (…). They said they needed help and were from Afghanistan,” the witness told the court.

She emphasized that during the conversation, they expressed their desire to apply for international protection in Poland and to provide a power of attorney in writing for actions on their behalf.

Representing the applicants, attorney Grzegorz Wilga told the Polish Press Agency (PAP) that Border Guard officers claim their actions were based on a regulation from the Ministry of Internal Affairs related to the situation on the eastern border. “They claim that the foreigners were taken to the facility to clarify their status on Polish territory and that it was not, in fact, a detention,” he said.

The court has postponed the trial until mid-April.

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