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Another Polish case of immigrant detention lands before ECtHR

The European Court of Human Rights has communicated to the Polish Government another case of the placement of a foreign national in a guarded centre (Bistieva v. Poland, no. 75157/14).

The case concerns a Chechen family, parents with minor children, who filed an application for the refugee status with the Office for Foreigners. In 2013, Polish authorities refused the application and decided to remove the family from Poland. At that time, the family left for Germany. While staying there, they had another child born. In January 2014, the mother and children were transferred to Poland and placed at the Guarded Centre for Foreigners in Kętrzyn pending deportation. However, the Warmińsko-Mazurskie Province Governor issued a decision that prohibited the deportation of the child born in Germany, arguing that its stay in Poland is legal. During their placement at the guarded centre, the family submitted another application for the refugee status. As the applicant’s father has received the refugee status in separate proceedings but based on the evidence similar to that offered by the applicant, the Head of the Office for Foreigners suspended the enforcement of his earlier deportation decision. It was only at the end of June 2014 when the family was released from the centre.

“In our application to the ECtHR we argued the violation of Article 5(1) of the Convention that took form of the illegal deprivation of liberty perpetrated against the child who was born in Germany and later the subject of a decision refusing the deportation, and also the illegal deprivation of the whole family’s liberty which took place in the situation where a decision refusing the removal was issued”, says Jacek Białas, HFHR lawyer and counsel for the applicants. “Furthermore, we allege in the application that the courts that ordered the child’s placement at the guarded centre failed to take into account the child’s best interests”, Mr Białas adds.

The applicant also complained that Polish authorities had violated Article 5(4) of the Convention by depriving the child born in Germany of judicial review of its detention because courts perceived the child’s situation solely from his mother’s status point of view to.

“In our application to the Court we also argued that the applicants’ right to family life had been violated because the entire family had been deprived of liberty while the authorities had failed to consider the application of alternative, non-custodial measures”, Jacek Białas notes.

The communicated case may be accessed here.

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