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Prosecutor’s orders delivered at recipient’s expense: intervention

The case was reported to the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights by a criminal defence attorney representing Piotr, a defendant in pre-trial detention. The lawyer informed us about a problem with the delivery of the prosecutor’s orders concerning visitation applications made by Piotr’s wife, Agnieszka. Each time she applied to visit her husband, the prosecutor’s office informed Agnieszka that her application would only be processed if she encloses postage stamps and envelopes for delivering relevant prosecutor’s orders. The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights has sent an intervention letter to the Head of the Mazovian Local Branch of the Department for Organised Crime and Corruption Offences of the National Prosecutor’s Office.

In the letter, the HFHR referred to § 189(3) of the Internal Rules of Operation of the Publicly Accessible Organisational Units of Public Prosecution Service, which read as follows: “The original of the Visitation Approval Order shall be delivered to the visitor and a copy shall be placed on the reference file.” The Foundation also emphasised the importance of ensuring the detainee’s contact with the outside world, including the preservation of family ties, which are a prerequisite for the humanitarian treatment of persons deprived of their liberty. In the view of the European Court of Human Rights, a restriction on such contact must comply with the criteria laid down in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

“Demanding that Agnieszka should pay the postal charges for the service of orders related to her visits to her incarcerated husband may constitute a violation of Convention guarantees”, says Justyna Jezierska, lawyer of the HFHR Legal Intervention Programme. “The absence of delivery of the relevant prosecutorial orders effectively presents visits”, adds Piotr Kubaszewski, coordinator of the Programme.

Piotr’s attorney said that after the Foundation’s intervention, Agnieszka for the first time receives a visitation order delivered by mail at the expense of the prosecutor’s office.

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