The Netherlands won’t send Polish nationals back to face trial

Statue of justice.
Statue of justice.

Amsterdam district court has refused to extradite a Polish national to Poland because of ‘major doubts about the independence of the Polish judiciary’.

The ‘constitutional right to a fair trial’ could now be in danger, judges said, announcing their verdict on Thursday. The case centres on a Polish national in Limburg said to be involved in drugs.

The Polish authorities now have four weeks to answer a string of questions about their operations and if their answers are not satisfactory, the suspect will not be sent back. A court in Spain reportedly took a similar decision earlier this week.

In particular, the judges in Amsterdam are concerned about potential ‘political involvement’ in criminal cases and says the legal principles adopted by the governing Polish party PIS (law and justice) are not compatible with the legal principles in the European Union.

Since coming to power in 2015, PiS brought in a number of controversial reforms and judges are now appointed by a council dominated by its members. Action has also been taken against judges who are considered to be too outspoken.

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