The District Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw initiated an investigation into the abuse of powers by Border Guard officers in Usnarze Górne (Podlaskie Voivodeship). In August 2021, a group of immigrants from Afghanistan and Iraq camped for a long time near this town, on the Belarusian side of the border.
The spokesman for the District Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw, prosecutor Szymon Banna, said on Tuesday that the proceedings were initiated in accordance with the decision of the District Court in Sokółka, which revoked the decision to refuse to initiate preparatory proceedings issued in this case.
The events covered by the investigation took place over two years ago, in the first months of the crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border caused by Alyaksandr Lukashenko.
They demanded that migrants be admitted to refugee procedures
In August 2021, information circulated in the media about a group of foreigners camping on the Belarusian side, right next to the border with Poland, near Usnarz Górny near Krynki in Podlasie. The Border Guard prevented them from crossing to Poland, and Belarusian services stood behind the encampment.
To Usnarz Górny in the following days – until it is introduced in September 2021 state of emergency in border towns – journalists, activists and opposition politicians came. The demands included: admitting foreigners to refugee procedures in Poland. The government at that time emphasized, among other things, that it could not allow illegal migration and argued that foreigners Belarus they are staying legally.
They were here until October
The Border Guard reported that it asked the Belarusians to take the group from the border. The Border Guard also reported that foreigners rotate in the group and that Belarusians regularly provide them with meals and communicate with them in Russian. The encampment was maintained in this place until October 2021.
An investigation is underway into the abuse of powers by Border Guard officers. It is run by the Military Department of the District Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw.
Ocalenie Foundation: they were detained, starved, on bare ground
The Ocalenie Foundation reported the suspicion of committing a crime in 2021 – when the migrants were staying in Usnarze Górny.
Its spokeswoman Kalina Czwarnóg says in an interview with TVN24 that it was necessary to wait so long to initiate proceedings because individual prosecutor’s offices were still “sending back and forth” about the case.
“Men, women, children and a cat were detained, starved, on bare ground, without access to clean water or sanitary facilities, and – despite repeatedly reported health problems – without access to medical assistance,” we read in a post on the foundation’s Facebook profile .
Operation “Sluice” – a crisis caused by Lukashenko
Migration crisis on the borders of Belarus with Poland, Lithuania and Latvia was caused by Alexander Lukashenko, who is accused of waging a hybrid war. It involves the organized transfer of migrants to the territory of Poland, Lithuania and… Latvia. During over 28 years of his rule, Lukashenko has often threatened Europe with weakening border control.
The operation of bringing migrants to Belarus from the Middle East or Africa in order to cause a migration crisis was previously described on his blog by Tadeusz Giczan, a journalist from the Belarusian opposition channel Nexta. He explained that the Belarusian services are conducting the “Sluice” operation invented 10 years ago. Under the guise of trips to Minsk, promising to transfer them to Western Europe, the Lukashenko 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 still ongoing.
Read more at tvn24.pl: Crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border
Main photo source: TVN24