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Citizenship may be denied under intelligence agency’s confidential report

The Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw denied the complaint brought by Paweł Juszkiewicz against a decision which denies the recognition of him as a Polish citizen. The decision was based on a confidential report drafted by the Internal Security Agency, inaccessible for Mr Juszkiewicz.

The PAC held that in citizenship recognition cases which involve an element of state security the court needed to balance two contradicting values: public safety and security, and rights of the individual, including the right to defence. The Administrative Court ruled that despite Mr Juszkiewicz’s inability to access the entirety of case files, the fairness of the proceedings conducted in the case has been ensured thanks to the judicial supervision of confidential case records. The judgment is yet to become final.

Paweł Juszkiewicz is a Belarusian national. Since 2008 he has been staying in Poland, and obtained a settlement permit based on his Polish ancestry. In 2012, he applied to be recognised as a Polish citizen but his application was denied. According to a sealed report prepared by the Internal Security Agency, Mr Juszkiewicz has been identified as a threat to national defence or safety. He was yet denied access to the ISA document in the course of the proceedings pending before the Wielkopolskie Province Governor therefore he is unable to learn the reasons for the denial of his application. Paweł Juszkiewicz complained to the Provincial Administrative Court

Warsaw’s PAC granted the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights leave to join the case.

“Upon accessing the case, the Foundation presented the amicus curiae opinion drawn up by Prof. Ireneusz C. Kamiński which emphasised that in a situation where case files have been sealed, Polish law offers no procedural remedy enabling a person subject to expulsion from the country, or his or her legal representative, to effectively defend their case. This, in turn, begs the question about its compatibility with the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights”, says Irmina Pacho, HFHR’s lawyer. “This is yet another case the HFHR takes part in which shows symptoms of the above problem. The discussed practice may lead to a violation of the right to court, an effective remedy and family life”, adds Ms Pacho.

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