The Provincial Administrative Court ordered the Head of the Office for Foreigners to produce a substantive assessment of the rationale behind the entry ban instated on Lyudmyla Kozlovska.Thus, the Law and Justice (PiS) government suffered its third defeat in court in its dispute with the President of the Open Dialogue Foundation before the Provincial Administrative Court in Warsaw.Download court decision
The Provincial Administrative Court has directed the Office for Foreigners to review, in particular, requests for evidence that the Office for Foreigners ignored. The court harshly judged the work of the Office, which, for three years, was unable to produce a comprehensive assessment of the evidence, limiting itself to classified material provided by the Internal Security Agency.
The “more extensive” document obtained by the Office for Foreigners from the Internal Security Agency, which the Office cites, does not contain any new relevant facts – the content is essentially a duplicate of the information about the circumstances that formed the basis of the entry ban issued in 2018. The infamous Moldovan report may be an exception, but it too has been challenged as having been written through a political lens.
The Provincial Administrative Court fully shares the conclusions established by the earlier verdict issued by the Provincial Administrative Court on 16 April 2019, in which the material gathered by the Internal Security Agency against Lyudmyla Kozlovska was criticised as being “insufficient” and “very vague”.
“This is the third time that the government and Internal Security Agency have lost against us before the Provincial Administrative Court. This is just one of the many fronts in this conflict. In fact, all the disputes with the current government in Poland have either been concluded in our favour, or are being dragged out further, for many years. We are scoring points, but the final victory will probably only be possible when the PiS-led government is out of power,” says Bartosz Kramek, Chair of ODF’s Supervisory Board.
According to the Office for Foreigners, the President of ODF continues to pose a threat to national security. The basis for the entry ban cannot be disclosed – it has been made classified and the Office for Foreigners cites “national security considerations” as the reasons behind its classification.
Ms Joanna Koch, Lyudmyla Kozlovska’s lawyer, has drawn attention to the fact that the Polish government has operated very slowly in successive court cases that it has lost:
“In the case in which we have now obtained a positive judgment from the court, there was still an order imposing a fine on the head of the Office for Foreigners on the grounds that the complaint, which was brought by law firms to the Office for Foreigners on 16 June 2020, was referred by the Office to the court many months later. The Office has 30 days to forward a complaint such as this one. We faced great difficulties in obtaining any information whatsoever from the Office on this subject. After more than three months, we intervened with the Office for Foreigners as to why this complaint had not been forwarded. In January of the following year, the court, at the request of the complainant, issued a fine against the head of the Office for Foreigners for exceeding the deadline. It is completely incomprehensible why a completed complaint was held by the Office for almost four months.”
Unfortunately, that is not all – reportedly, the Office for Foreigners is considering an appeal to the Supreme Administrative Court, and a repeated processing of the case may take a while. However, this is not a surprise – we will keep fighting.“It is sad that we must constantly put the Polish government up against a wall and prove the obvious to the court. This is not easy when, in fact, we do not know what is happening, because the file remains classified. I am satisfied that successive rulings are being decided in my favour, but it is a very bitter feeling,” Lyudmyla Kozlovska confessed.
- The #BringHerBack campaign
- The Lyudmyla Kozlovska Case timeline [updated]
- Court: Secret services’ conclusions “unreasonable”, Lyudmyla Kozlovska should have stayed in Poland (5 September 2019)
- Court finds entry ban on Lyudmyla Kozlovska unjustified (19 June 2019)
- Lyudmyla Kozlovska receives residence permit in Belgium (4 March 2019)
- Office for Foreigners refuses to delete Lyudmyla Kozlovska’s data from SIS (18 December 2018)
- Challenging the decision of the Head of the Office for Foreigners: Lyudmyla Kozlovska’s request for removal from the SIS has been re-submitted (19 October 2018)