On March 23rd, four Polish #activists were arrested on suspicion of smuggling people over the PL-BA border and could face an 8-year #sentence. In the weeks prior, they had been providing help to Ukrainian #refugees crossing the border into #Poland to flee Russia’s aggression.
@grupagranica has condemned the unfair #detention of the four activists for carrying the same actions that are laudable in relation to Ukrainian refugees. According to this organisation, the activists were only helping those who had already entered Polish territory, contrary to the prosecution’s accusation of assisting in illegal border crossing.
The group assisted by the four Polish activists consisted of a family travelling with seven children. When found, they were struggling to survive having spent three months in the PL-BA border area, a harsh primaeval forest, without basic resources. After spending 2 days in #jail, the court denied the prosecutor’s request to a 3-month pre-trial detention of the suspects.
Grupa Granica, an organisation committed to helping #migrants and refugees, has documented the 7-month humanitarian crisis on the PL-BA since its start in September of last year. More than 19 refugees, among them children, have already died because of Poland’s strong refusal to provide displaced people with protection. Contrary to the contemporaneous European #asylum applicants, most of the people at the PL-BA border come from the Middle East and Eastern Africa.
We call on the Polish the prosecution office in Hajnówka, East Poland, to hail the activists’ actions in Poland as heroic and as morally correct as their actions in Ukraine.
We call on the Polish government to stop criminalising help to the citizens of the global south while garnering international approval for their actions towards Ukraine.
We at Rethinking Refugees, along with Grupa Granica, call on Poland and the European nation to show “[s]olidarity with those who help!”