Polish prosecutors launch criminal case against soldier who defected to Belarus

The Prosecutor’s Office in Bialystok has launched an investigation into the fact of desertion of a Polish soldier to Belarus. Prosecutors may turn to court to get a permission to arrest the soldier, reports news agency PAP.

Emil Czeczko and Kseniya Lebedzeva. Video screenshot ATN / YouTube

Under Polish law, a soldier who flees abroad while serving in the military can be punished with 10 years in prison. Hence, the prosecutor’s office in Białystok has opened a criminal case and is drawing up an appeal to the court to track down and arrest the deserter.

Colonel Radoslaw Wiszenko, the deputy prosecutor for military affairs of the Bialystok-North District, said that the investigation is now gathering evidence in the case.

“Investigation was conducted at the serviceman’s place of residence, data carriers were seized. This will be the subject of an investigation, whether the desertion was planned, or it was an impulse,” said the prosecutor.

The prosecutor also added that the prosecution did not rule out a request for the defendant’s detention. Before making a decision (about possible temporary detention), the court must have in its possession – provided by the investigation – evidence to make such a decision.

Poland recently confirmed the disappearance of a soldier from the 11th Artillery Regiment. Representatives of Emil Czeczko’s military unit said the deserter had issues. There were only a few days left before the end of his service.

Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak wrote on Twitter that the missing soldier had problems with the law and had resigned from the army. According to Blaszczak, the soldier should not have been sent to serve on the border at all.

Belarusian authorities officially state that Emil Czeczko has asked for political asylum allegedly in protest against Poland’s policies in the migration crisis and mistreatment of refugees. The state television showed a conversation with this military officer.