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Syrian citizen arrested in Zgorzelec: HFHR intervenes

The Helsinki Foundation for Human has sent a letter to the Director of the Department of Permits and Licences at the Ministry of the Interior and Administration, addressing the arrest of a Syrian national made by employees of Centrum Szkolenia Specjalnego “Fenix”, a security company. The Foundation asked the Director to inquire whether the company had a valid licence for the provision of personal and asset protection services.

According to media reports, the Syrian was arrested in a street of Zgorzelec, close to a building protected by “Fenix”. A team of security officers checked the man’s ID, decided that he was staying in Poland illegally and handed him down to the Border Guard. However, the authorities said that the man was staying in Poland legally because he had a residence permit valid in Germany and had the right to cross the Polish border.

The HFHR emphasised in the letter that an arrest and checking a person’s identity documents can happen only in situations strictly defined by law. “In the light of media reports on this incident, nothing suggests that any circumstances justified the documents check and arrest of a foreigner and transferring him into the custody of the Border Guard officers”, reads the letter.

“There are concerns that by checking the Syrian national’s identity and arresting him security officers might have exceeded their powers”, the HFHR’s legal expert Dr Dorota Pudzianowska comments. “We asked the Ministry to take action in order to explain whether or not the security company has properly fulfilled its license for the provision of personal and asset protection services”, Dr Pudzianowska adds.

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