The well-known Polish journalist Rafał Ziemkiewicz had an adventure that was as scandalous as it was incredible on Saturday, September 2nd at London’s Heathrow Airport. He ended up with his wife and daughter for a two-day private stay, but only they were allowed to pass immigration control. Mr. Ziemkiewicz was arrested and then placed in pre-trial detention before being deported to Warsaw.
A purely private trip
Mr. Ziemkiewicz’s daughter was admitted to the prestigious University of Oxford in the UK. Rafał Ziemkiewicz and his wife therefore accompanied them on their move from Poland to the latter city. But what was intended as a short family trip soon took a completely different, and highly political, turn.
Ziemkiewicz, whose words were reproduced in an interview on 3 October by the conservative Polish weekly Do Rzeczy publica-fent-light was, for which he regularly wrote articles and columns, this explains very simply:
“ My wife and daughter passed the checkpoint while I was stopped by an officer who told me there was something wrong with his computer. He asked me to take the seat next to him and, he assured me, wait a moment. […] Five minutes became an hour, and then another hour passed. First a few people came and asked questions […] about my daughters, my date of birth, the countries I had been to, etc. After about two hours, suddenly some people appeared and asked me to follow them. Then the classic search with fingerprints and photos began . […] “
Medicines, papers and cell phone were taken from him
“ I was particularly concerned about my diabetes medication because the English woman who questioned me asked me what kind of medication it was and what it was made of. Later these drugs were taken away from me because [a detainee in detention] is not allowed to take his own [drugs] with him. I was told they could call an ambulance if I was uncomfortable.
It wasn’t until several hours later that I was admitted to an immigration officer, who actually had no questions for me, but informed me that he advised me to rebook my ticket, as my political views mean that I am not allowed to enter the UK anyway. Of course, I replied that this was definitely out of the question.
I also asked what they had against my political views and what they knew about them, but I got no answer. The officer repeated that he had not made his own decision but was only following orders.
After about an hour he came back with a piece of paper signed by who knows who, because the signature was illegible. The decision was made that I should be deported and I was escorted to a Polish plane.
My passport was given to the flight crew and I discovered something interesting, which was a British visa with the date October 2nd and the number of the immigration officer who had issued it pasted on, and that visa was crossed out with a ballpoint pen in a prominent place had been. Obviously it was first decided that I would be admitted and then probably someone with more influence decided to create a scandal and cut everything. “
Solidarity of the Polish journalists with their colleague
The case naturally caused a sensation in Poland, where many journalists immediately stood up for their colleague:
“This is a reason for serious diplomatic intervention. I am not saying this because it is one of my colleagues. Regardless of who among Polish columnists and journalists is affected by this situation, the reaction should be the same, as the causes are most likely freedom of expression issues, “
“ I am shocked by this news. Rafał Ziemkiewicz is one of the most important Polish journalists […] Unfortunately, the actions taken by the British authorities so far are extremely worrying. It is an attack in broad daylight on a Polish citizen without giving any reason. It is now the responsibility of the Polish authorities to clarify the situation. “
Accordingly, the Polish diplomatic services supported the journalists detained at Heathrow Airport.
“Your views are at odds with British values”
During his deportation Ziemkiewicz was a docu-ment with the letterhead of the British Home Office handed – illegible signature, as he pointed out, but with the Border Force , Terminal 2, Heathrow Airport, as a writer – in which it said:
“ You have applied for permission to visit the UK as a visitor for two days. However, I believe that your deportation from the UK is in the public interest. Your behavior and views are in fact contrary to British values and may offend individuals so it is undesirable to allow you entry. […] I will therefore refuse to enter the United King-rich […] I have arranged to give instructions for your deportation to Poland … ”
Guardian campaign in 2018
The reasons for this case are apparently doing in the campaign, which in 2018 by The guar dian and in particular the Muslim deputies bengalischstämmigen Rupa Huq which incidentally claimed to be jointly responsible for the deportation of Rafał Ziemkiewicz at Heathrow at the weekend. At the time, Ziemkiewicz had been invited by an association of Poles living in Great Britain to give several lectures. Alarmed by Polish leftists who are hostile to this journalist, who makes no secret of his conservative, sovereignist and Christian views, the British left ensured that this trip could not take place. The owners of the conference rooms and even a restaurant owner were pressured and threatened by the British police at the time and canceled all bookings. Apparently, Rafał Ziemkiewicz’s name is still on the list personnæ non gratæ , in a country which has been the pioneer of liberal democracy in Europe since the 18th century and which is now at the beginning of the 21st century confirming its place at the forefront of totalitarian development in western liberal democracies.