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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                        

Republic of Poland

Defendants generally enjoy due process protections in Poland, though the law allows for extended pretrial detention, which can be lengthy in practice, and there is a large backlog of cases.

  [Freedom House Country Report, 2018]

Description: Description: Poland

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Poland.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

*** ARCHIVES ***

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Poland

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 3 August 2021]


On February 19, the Wroclaw District Court upheld the conviction of four former police officers who were found guilty of abuse of power and physical and psychological violence against a 25-year-old man who died in police custody in Wroclaw in 2016. Video footage showed police beating and using an electroshock device on the man while he was handcuffed in a jail cell. One defendant was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, and the others received two-year sentences. In addition, the court ruled the defendants could not work as police officers for eight and six years, respectively.

On September 9, the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) operating under the office of the commissioner for human rights (ombudsperson) published a report on police action against a group of demonstrators who held a spontaneous gathering on August 7, following the detention of an activist associated with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex community. The report described the treatment of detainees by police as “degrading” and in some cases “inhuman” (see section 6, Acts of Violence, Criminalization, and Other Abuses Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity).

Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on the ad hoc visit to Poland

European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment CPT, Executive Summary, 28 October 2020

The Report  -

[accessed 28 October 2020]

The absolute absence of progress as regards the fundamental safeguards against ill-treatment advocated by the CPT, namely the right of access to a lawyer and to a doctor, the right to notify one's detention to a third party and the right to be informed of the above-mentioned rights, is the source of the Committee’s deepest concern after the 2019 ad hoc visit to Poland. It is the CPT’s view that serious deficiencies observed once again by its delegation have a persisting and systemic character, which appear in an even more negative light when set against the ongoing phenomenon of ill-treatment of persons in police custody.

Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on Poland

European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment CPT, Executive Summary, 25 July 2018

The Report  -

[accessed 2 June 2020]

15. The great majority of persons interviewed by the delegation, who were or had recently been in police custody, stated that they had been treated by the police in a correct manner. However, the delegation did hear a number of allegations of physical ill-treatment.

Most   of  these  allegations  referred  to excessive  use  of  force at  the  time  of  apprehension (consisting  of  slaps,  punches,  kicks,  truncheon  blows, using  an  electric  discharge  weapon and applying handcuffs too tightly) in respect of persons who were reportedly already under control and who  did  not  resist  (or  no  longer resisted)  arrest.  A  few  allegations  were  also  heard  concerning physical  ill-treatment(mainly  punches  and  kicks) in  the  course  of  questioning,  including  two allegations of ill-treatment of such a severity that they could be considered as amounting to torture i.e. asphyxiation using a plastic bag placed over a person’s head and administering truncheon blows on  the  soles  of  the  feet.  In  one  of  these  cases(see  paragraph 17below),  the  alleged  victim  had reportedly officially complained about his treatment to the relevant authorities. Further, several persons alleged that they had been threatened and/or verbally abused while in police custody.

Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 13 May 2020]

IS THERE AN INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY? - Since taking power in 2015, the PiS government has moved aggressively to assert control over the judiciary. One of its first steps was to pass legislation designed to curb the powers of the TK, and it subsequently refused to publish TK decisions that it considered invalid. By the end of 2016, after a lengthy dispute over the tribunal’s membership and authority, the TK was dominated by progovernment judges. In its March 2017 ruling on the law on public gatherings, the 15-member TK excluded three judges based on a complaint from the justice minister, and a fourth was sent on compulsory leave, allowing the law to win approval with a seven-to-four vote.

In July, the parliament adopted three sweeping government-backed judicial reform laws. President Duda signed one of them, granting the justice minister the power to appoint and dismiss the presidents and deputy presidents of district, regional, and appellate courts; the justice minister used this authority in November, removing 10 court officials in southern Poland.

SCORE CHANGE: The score declined from 2 to 1 due to legal changes that dramatically increased elected officials’ influence over the Supreme Court, the National Council of the Judiciary, and lower courts across the country.

DOES DUE PROCESS PREVAIL IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL MATTERS? - Defendants generally enjoy due process protections in Poland, though the law allows for extended pretrial detention, which can be lengthy in practice, and there is a large backlog of cases.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. A/55/44, paras. 82-95 (2000)

[accessed 5 March 2013]

3. Principal subjects of concern

90. The Committee notes that, in spite of the efforts of the State party, some drastic acts of aggressive behaviour by police officers continue to occur, which has resulted in death in some instances.


For more articles:: Search Amnesty International’s website

[accessed 10 January 2019]

Scroll Down


Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 11 February 2013]

[accessed 4 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices, and there were no reports that government officials employed them.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 1   Civil Liberties: 1   Status: Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 11 February 2013]

LONG URL   ç 2009 Country Reports begin on Page 21

[accessed 13 May 2020]

Poland has an independent judiciary, but courts are notorious for delays in administering cases. State prosecutors have proceeded slowly on corruption investigations, contributing to concerns that they are subject to considerable political pressure. A November 2007 report by the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute faulted several recently passed and proposed legislative amendments introduced by the PiS government; however, since Tusk’s election, the proposed amendments stalled. Prison conditions are fairly poor by European standards, and pretrial detention periods can be lengthy.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Poland",, [accessed <date>]