Ukrainian takes Polish border guards to court


The Ukrainian consulate in Krakow has welcomed the decision taken by Irina Fris, and believes her case could create an important precedent. Ms Fris, a Ukrainian who lectures in Polish Language and Literatue at the Lviv Ivan Franko University has lodged a suit against officers of the Luzhytsky Department of the Polish Border Guard Service who detained her for supposedly illegally entering Poland through which she was passing in transit on her way to Ukraine at the beginning of January this year.

She accuses them of exceeding their duties, putting pressure on her and of impolite treatment.  She alleges that the guards, despite her repeated requests, did not provide her with a document indicating the grounds for detaining her. She says they forced her, using threats, to sign a protocol of detention in which she admitted to having illegally crossed the Polish border and said that she had no complaints about the border guards, held her over night in custody and the next day returned her, accompanied by border guards, to Germany without providing any documents of readmission.

She also asserts that the Polish border guards gave her incorrect information that supposedly their German colleagues had found that she really did not have the right with a national German visa to travel to Ukraine through Polish territory, and that they would send her home by plane at their expense.

She adds that some of the guards made indecent jokes about her and did not allow her to make a complaint to their immediate superiors.

Irina Fris was on a scholarship in Germany and was returning home on 7 January for Christmas. With the same two-month multiple entry visa for Germany she had travelled in December to Ukraine via Austria and Hungary, and at the end of December returned to Germany via Poland.

The complaint is due to be heard by the District Court in Zgozhelts on 2 March. The Ukrainian Consul in Krakow considers that Irina Fris’ case could help Ukrainians in future to uphold their rights in disputes with the border guard service.  He says that the border guards detain many Ukrainians each month and that the latter often complain of bad treatment, but do not make formal complaints.

In autumn 2008 the Polish consulate in Lviv refused a visa to the well-known Ukrainian writer Taras Prokhasko (who had 6 months earlier received the Polish Joseph Conrad Literary Award) who had been invited to an international forum. It was only after the intervention of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs that the writer was issued a visa.
From information at

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