Deprivation of migrants’ liberty

Czasopismo Prawa Karnego i Nauk Penalnych Rok XXVI: 2022, numer 1-2
Journal of Criminal Law and Penal Studies Volume XXVI: 2022, No. 1-2

Paweł Burzyński, Ewa Janczur

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refugees, crisis, deprivation of liberty, Polish-Belarusian border, state of emergency, restrictions on rights and freedoms


The refugee crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border related to the appearance on the bor-
der of a significant number of people who were brought to the territory of Belarus and
then directed to the territory of Poland in an organized manner by Belarusian services
led to a number of actions by, among others, Polish authorities, the legal aspects of which
required urgent elaboration. This article addresses the issue of deprivation of migrants’
liberty. Deprivation of liberty in accordance with current legislation and well-established
case law is any detention in a closed room and the use of any other measure that may
constitute a significant obstacle to the exercise of that liberty. This may include the use
of physical violence (e.g., binding, confinement), the use of threats or any other means.
The key issue is not whether it was objectively impossible for the deprived person to
free himself, but whether it is so in the reasonable perception of the imprisoned person
under the circumstances.
In the context of migrants, the issue of deprivation of their liberty should be con-
sidered in relation to several different procedural steps and measures used against them,
such as detention, citizen capture, detention, push-back disclosure.