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All persons who spoke with the representatives of KMPT pointed to the enormous chaos prevailing among the police officers. At the time of capture, they were not given any reasons for detention.

If it had not been for the dedication of the lawyers who arrived at the police stations on their own initiative, detainees would not have had the opportunity to seek legal aid.

Some of the detainees were interrogated at night, without access to food or water.

 Among the detainees there were random people who at that time went out to do groceries and were on their way back from shopping.

Representatives of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture (KMPT) talked to 33 people detained in connection with the events that took place on 7 August 2020 in Warsaw after the arrest of an activist from the "Stop Bullshit" group.  They conducted ad hoc visits in six rooms for detainees (PdOZ) in Warsaw and Piaseczno. The purpose of the visit was to examine the situation of persons detained by the police and the conditions of their detention in the context of the implementation of the so-called minimum antitorture guarantees.

The Deputy Director of KMPT Marcin Kusy and Aleksandra Nowicka went to two PdOZ on Nowolipie Street and Żeromskiego Street. Aleksandra Osińska and Michał Żłobecki conducted visits to the PdOZ on Żytnia Street and Janowskiego Street. Dr Justyna Jóźwiak and Justyna Zarecka, on the other hand, talked to the detainees placed in the PdOZ on Jagiellońska Street and in Piaseczno. In total, 33 out of 48 detainees were interviewed.

According to KMPT's observations, among the detainees were those who did not actively participate in the assembly on Krakowskie Przedmieście or on Wilcza Street, but simply watched the incident as bystanders. Some of them had rainbow-coloured emblems (bags, pinned-ups, flags). Among the detainees, however, there were also random people, who at that time went out to do groceries and were on their way back from shopping.

Several interlocutors drew attention to the brutality of the police at the time of their arrest. Some of them spoke about being beaten in police cars. A number of people had visible injuries on their bodies, which were documented by KMPT representatives. Some detainees indicated inadequate use of direct coercive measures, e.g. putting handcuffs on the hands at the back during transport, or throwing them on the ground in order to put the handcuffs on.

All persons who spoke with the representatives of KMPT pointed to the enormous chaos prevailing among the police officers. At the time of capture, they were not given any reasons for detention. With the passing of time, the reasons for detention were indicated among others as violation of the so-called Covid-19 act. Eventually, most of the detainees were accused of committing an act under Article 254 of the Penal Code, i.e. participating in a rally with the knowledge that the joint efforts of the participants resulted in a violent assault on a person or property. Detainees had no information about where they would be transported to.

In many cases, they were transported from one police precinct to another. The time that it took between their arrest and detention could reach up to 12 hours. Some of the interviewees were interrogated at night. A number of people were transferred to PdOZ in the morning, where they slept on hard bunks, without a blanket and mattress, and without food or water.

According to the information received by the representatives of KMPT, the attitude of the officers towards the detainees varied greatly. Some claimed that the policemen performed their tasks professionally. There were even opinions that some policemen were ashamed of following the orders. However, there were also voices indicating caustic, homophobic and transphobic comments: an activist coming all the way from Wielkopolska (a region in Western Poland) was asked “how much were you paid to come to Warsaw?"; when asked about obtaining soap, a detainee was answered that - "you are looking for hotel-level standards"; and male pronouns were used exclusively for addressing a transgender woman arrested by the police. 

Most of the detainees were subjected to a personal inspection, which consisted of undressing them naked and being asked to do a squat. In the case of a transgender woman, this check was performed by a male officer.

As far as access to legal aid is concerned, a problem that has been noticed for years by KMPT, i.e. lack of contact with an attorney/legal representative from the first moments of detention, was once again apparent. If it had not been for the dedication of the lawyers who arrived at the police stations on their own initiative, detainees would not have had the opportunity to seek legal aid, since many people have never had contact with any lawyers before.

Some of the interlocutors said that the lawyers themselves handed out business cards with contact details at the entrance to the police precinct. There were times when detainees who did not know their lawyers' names but had their phone number were not allowed to contact them. In some cases, detainees found out about the possibility of meeting with a lawyer only after they had made their statements to the police. If a meeting with a lawyer had already taken place, it was held under conditions which did not ensure confidentiality.

The interlocutors also pointed out the difficulties in passing on information about the detention to their relatives. They said that they had to know their relatives' phone numbers by heart, because some of them were not allowed to find contacts on their mobile phones. In other cases, they were only allowed to contact their parents.

KMPT has long postulated that everyone should be examined by doctors after the arrest. However, only some people had this possibility. The examination was always carried out in the presence of officers, and some detainees were handcuffed even during the examination. A number of detainees with health issues who have prescribed medicines were not allowed to be examined by doctors. A transgender person was denied access to testosterone, which should be taken on the day of the arrest.

Detailed conclusions of the inspections will be presented at a later date.

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from: rpo.gov.pl

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