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Asylum seeker files lawsuit against Poland in Strasbourg after 31 unsuccessful attempts to file application for international protection at Terespol border crossing

A Chechen asylum seeker, who had repeatedly been refused an opportunity to file an application for international protection by the Border Guard, has filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, seeking remedies against Poland.

On 29 June 2017, a refugee from Chechnya, who, in the period between July 2016 and June 2017, tried to apply for international protection for 31 times but was always denied this right by the Border Guard, filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, seeking remedies against Poland.

The applicant was one of the pro bono clients of the attorneys from the Warsaw Regional Bar Association who appeared at the border crossing in Terespol on 17 March. Unfortunately, the applicant, together with fifty other persons represented by the lawyers from Warsaw, was once again denied entry to Poland. None of the measures laid down in Polish law could be of use for the applicant, who fled Chechnya in fear of torture and persecution. The Border Guard has consistently refused to receive his application for international protection in Poland.

This has been the reality at the border crossing station in Terespol for nearly two years, according to reports of Polish non-governmental organisations (Association for Legal Intervention and Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights), international rights organisations (Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International) or Human Constanta, a Belarussian organisation providing aid to refugees from Chechnya in Brest.

On 8 June, the applicant obtained an interim measures from the European Court of Human Rights, which prohibited Polish authorities from returning him to Belarus. However, in an unprecedented move, the Polish government decided to ignore the order. On the same day, the applicant was once again returned to Brest on a train. He later made several attempts to submit an application for international protection, also unsuccessful.

The applicant is represented in proceedings before the ECtHR by Ms Sylwia Gregorczyk-Abram, Ms Maria Radziejowska and Mr Jacek Białas, all acting pro bono.

The full text of a press release is available here.

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