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HFHR asks prosecution service about arrest of Syrian national in Zgorzelec

The Helsinki Foundation asked the District Prosecutor in Jelenia Góra for information about the current status of the criminal investigation conducted in the case of the arrest of a Syrian national in Zgorzelec made by employees of Centrum Szkolenia Specjalnego Fenix, a private security company.

Let us remind our readers that according to media accounts, a team of Fenix security officers stopped the man, checked his ID and, having decided that he was staying in Poland illegally handed him down to the Border Guard. However, the authorities said that the man was staying in Poland legally because he had a proper legal title to stay in Germany and the right to cross the German-Polish border.

The Helsinki Foundation has intervened in this case and asked the Ministry’s Department of Permit and Licences of the Ministry of the Interior to inquire whether the company had a valid licence for the provision of personal and asset protection services. An audit carried out by the Ministry and the provincial police department of Wrocław, revealed that the company did not have the proper licence. The licence was granted by a sole trader entered in the Register of Business Activity, with whom the company had signed a consortium agreement. Moreover, detected irregularities led to the launch of proceedings in the matter of revocation of the trader’s licence.

According to the District Prosecutor’s response provided to the CHR, a criminal investigation was initiated in the aftermath of the incident in the case of an illegal detention of the Syrian national and the improper performance of duties by security personnel. Since one of the investigation’s lines of inquiry involves a possible hate crime, the case was transferred to the District Prosecutor’s Office in Jelenia Góra, which is a prosecution service’s local unit appointed to deal with such cases.

The HFHR asked the District Prosecutor for information regarding, among other things, actions taken in connection with the possibility of commencing and conducting a criminal investigation in a hate crime case. The Foundation noted that according to the 2014 guidelines of the Prosecutor General, proceedings conducted in hate crime cases are considered materially important.

“In cases concerning a suspicion of a hate crime, state bodies should exercise an utmost degree of care, and actions taken by such bodies should convey a clear message of no tolerance of such behaviour”, reads the HFHR’s letter.


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