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Warsaw court to rule on moral damages for family’s wrongful immigration detention

The case was started by a family from Tajikistan, a mother with two infants, who filed a motion for compensation for a moral loss caused by unlawful detention in a guarded immigration centre. The causes of action cited in the motion included deprivation of the family members’ liberty in spite of the fact that the claimant’s physical and mental state suggested that she had been a victim of violence and that her health deteriorated as a result of detention. The motion also pointed out that while issuing the detention order authorities had failed to properly investigate its impact on minor children.

At the first hearing, the Regional Court in Warsaw resolved that testimony of the claimant would be necessary. Since she cannot appear in person at the trial in Poland, the court considers issuing a legal assistance request to hear the claimant over a video link.

The family was detained in October 2016 after taking several attempts to file an application for international protection at the border crossing station in Medyka. The application on behalf of the whole family was submitted by the claimant’s husband. Immediately afterwards, the entire family was placed at the Guarded Centre for Foreigners in Przemyśl. During the period of detention, the mother was diagnosed with a psychological condition resulting from her detention and violence she had been subject to in the country of origin. Detention had also a negative impact on the condition and development of the children. The family was released only after the woman attempted suicide. At present, the family resides in Germany and the claimant cannot return to Poland due to her mental state.

The woman and her children are represented pro bono by Katarzyna Cukierska, Michał Jabłoński and Zofia Maciejewska, lawyers of Dentons.


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