Poland | Commissioner for Human Rights discovers alarming case during preventive visit

A citizen was placed in a mental hospital 10 years ago, under the so-called security measure, after he had stolen a bicycle.

Psychiatrists concluded that due to his mental condition he was not subject to penalty under the criminal law. The court’s decision on his placement in the mental hospital was based on an opinion of a psychologist who had not examined the patient but only his case files.

The court concluded, without fully justifying his opinion, that the stealing of the bicycle posed serious risk for the society, and placed the patient in a mental hospital without defining the duration of the placement. No appeal against the judgment was lodged.

The case was discovered during one of the preventive visits of the Commissioner for Human Rights (CHR). These visits are paid by experts to places where people deprived of their liberty are kept; including mental hospitals. The aim of such visits is to verify that human rights are not violated in these facilities.

During one of these visits, the CHR discovered the files in question and forwarded them to the Criminal Law Team of the CHR’s Office. In December 2018, the Commissioner lodged a cassation appeal regarding the case.

This week the Supreme Court agreed that the patient was deprived of his liberty without sufficient grounds, for ten years for stealing a bicycle. He has already been released.


Source: Commissioner for Human Rights, Poland

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