The case in question pertains to a Chechen mother of four. She and her children have all suffered domestic violence at the hands of her husband / their father. The woman decided to leave her aggressive spouse and appealed for international protection in Poland. She knew that if she were to return to Chechnya, her ex-husband would take her children away from her.
In spite of her traumatising experiences, Polish authorities decided to place the woman and her children in a guarded centre for foreigners which, according to numerous studies, is not a suitable facility for children. They spent over 10 months there, even though it could easily have been foreseen that such detention would have a negative impact on the mental health of the children. Having spent months in isolation, the woman’s sons now require psychological therapy and her eldest son is suffering from depression. In the opinion of an expert, the psychological issues those teenage boys are now struggling against resulted from both the long-term detention and their fear of being sent back to Chechnya.
Unfortunately, such fears were not unreasonable as Poland has denied international protection to the family. In spite of there being evidence, including a witness testimony indicating that the woman and her children were beaten up and otherwise abused on a daily basis, Polish authorities have concluded that such violence was not regular in nature. Consequently, they were deported to Russia and the ex-husband took the woman’s children away.
We are now representing them before the European Court of Human Rights. In our complaint to ECHR, we strive to prove that Polish authorities have violated the provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights forbidding torture and arbitrary detention in addition to committing an infringement of the right to family life and certain procedural aspects of the prohibition against arbitrary detention.
Legal aid is provided by Małgorzata Jaźwińska, an attorney-at-law at the Association for Legal Intervention (SIP).
ECHR’s announcement regarding the case in question can be found at: hudoc.echr.coe.int