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Grodek commune. The police raided the Catholic Intelligentsia Club. The court awarded damages

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Two volunteers and two people documenting the crisis on the border with Belarus are to receive compensation from the State Treasury for unjustified detention by the police. Everything happened in December 2021, when uniformed officers entered the point of the Catholic Intelligentsia Club in the Gródek commune (Podlaskie Voivodeship). However, their suspicions about organizing illegal border crossings were not confirmed.

– All this was a huge surprise for us and we all experienced it very much – said Jakub Kiersnowski, president of the Warsaw Catholic Intelligentsia Club, in an interview with tvn24.pl last year.

These are the events of the night of December 15/16, 2021, when a humanitarian aid point organized by KIK in the commune of Gródek on the border with Belarusthe police entered.

Volunteers counted that twelve police cars were involved in the action (photo from December 2021)TVN24

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The police questioned four people. She took phones and computers

Katarzyna Staszewska, an activist from the Granica Group, said in December 2021 in front of the TVN24 camera, that there were about 12 police cars on site and that the volunteers saw this as an example of intimidation and repression of people who are involved in saving the lives of cold and suffering people.

Sub-inspector Tomasz Krupa, spokesman for the Podlaskie police, explained that the uniformed officers were conducting activities in connection with the suspicion of committing the crime of organizing aiding and aiding illegal border crossing. Uniforms interrogated four people – two volunteers and two people who documented the crisis on the border with Belarus. They took their phones and computers.

The prosecutor’s office discontinued the proceedings. The court awarded damages

In September 2022, the District Prosecutor’s Office in Białystok discontinued the proceedings in this case. No evidence was found in the confiscated laptops and phones that anyone was involved in human smuggling.

The police conducted searches (photo from December 2021)TVN24

– In February 2023, the District Court in Białystok ruled that the actions of the police were illegal, unjustified and incorrect. The judgment is final. Four persons applied for compensation from the State Treasury. On June 6, 2023, the District Court in Warsaw awarded them such compensation: in the amount of PLN 3,000 to PLN 10,000. PLN – says attorney Artur Kula, the representative of the group.

The judgment is not final

He also points out – which can also be read in the posts posted on the Facebook profiles of the Warsaw KIK and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights – that the court, in its oral justification, emphasized that in December 2021 these people were formally detained.

– Despite the fact that they were not taken to the police station, but interrogated on the spot, and even if the officers did not draw up documentation or protocols of these activities. The interrogations of individual persons lasted up to 14 hours, emphasizes the lawyer.

“When the officers detained persons associated with PIK (Crisis Intervention Point – editor’s note), there was no justification for the suspicion of committing a crime. The ruling is not final,” we read in the aforementioned posts.

Volunteer Weronika Klemba also applied for compensation

Attorney Kula is also a representative of the volunteer Weronika Klemba, who in March 2022 was stopped by the police when she was driving a car near the village of Poniatowicze (Podlaskie Voivodeship). According to the officers, she was going to fetch four Cuban nationals. So she was charged with trying to help illegally cross the border.

Read also: Migrants are still camped on the Polish-Belarusian border. “What kind of nation are we really?”

– In this case, the prosecutor’s office also discontinued the investigation due to lack of evidence. Ms. Klemba also applied for compensation. We are waiting for the trial – says Artur Kula.

The head of the Warsaw KIK hopes for reflection from the services

However, when it comes to the Warsaw KIK point in the Gródek commune, it still works. – Except that now we also often visit points of other organizations that provide humanitarian aid – Jakub Kiersnowski, the president of the Warsaw KIK, tells us.

He adds that the court’s decision against four people – and probably soon against Weronika Klemba – is not only material, but also symbolic.

– It shows that providing help to those in need is lawful, and the actions of the services towards these people, unfortunately, were not. We hope that this will make the services reflect, he points out.

Operation “Sluice” – a crisis caused by Lukashenko

Migration crisis on the borders of Belarus and Poland, Lithuania and Latvia was triggered by Alyaksandr Lukashenko, who is accused of conducting a hybrid war. It consists in the organized transfer of migrants to the territory of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. Over the 28 years of his rule, Lukashenko has repeatedly threatened Europe with weakening border controls.

Read also: Operation “Sluice” – where did the planes to Minsk come from? This is what emerges from the analysis of thousands of flights

Tadeusz Giczan, journalist of the Belarusian opposition channel Nexta, described the action of bringing migrants to Belarus from the Middle East or Africa to cause a migration crisis. He explained that the Belarusian services were conducting the “Sluice” operation invented 10 years ago in this way. Under the guise of trips to Minsk, promising transfer to Western Europe, Lukashenko’s regime brought thousands of migrants to Belarus. Then he transports them to the borders of EU countries, where Belarusian services force them to cross them illegally. This operation is ongoing.

Read more at tvn24.pl: Crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border

The police carried out an operation in the Gródek commune

Main photo source: TVN24

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