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Court refuses to extradite refugee

On 14 July, the Regional Court in Warsaw denied an application to extradite a Chechen national to Russia. The man was granted refugee status in Poland and, together with his family, has been living in Poland for over 10 years.

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights prepared an opinion on this matter. According to the HFHR, the very fact that a person is granted refugee status should constitute grounds for refusal of an application for extradition. The Geneva Convention on the status of refugees, which forms a part of the Polish law, introduced the principle of prohibition of refoulement of refugees to their country of origin; this prohibition also applies to extradition.

“Obligation to refuse an application to extradite a foreigner who has been granted refugee status is also enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which guarantees the right to asylum in accordance with the provisions of the Geneva Convention. The prohibition of refoulement to the country of origin is one of the basic principles found in this Convention”, says Jacek Białas, a lawyer working with the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.

In the opinion, the HFHR argued that refoulement is also prohibited when there is the risk of torture and unfair trial in the event of extradition. The opinion also pointed to the fact that extradition of the foreigner to Russia may also violate his right to family life as his wife and children live in Poland and have also been granted a refugee status by the Polish authorities.

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