Poland has called in a German diplomat for talks following the rape of a Polish teenager in Munich, allegedly by a perpetrator from Afghanistan. Prime Minister Morawiecki has declared that the crime is a “consequence of the open border policy”.
He also announced that Poland will request that Polish prosecutors be involved in the investigation. However, opposition figures and some commentators accused him of politicising the tragedy amid campaigning for October’s elections.
The case concerns a Polish language school student who was raped and robbed at a subway station in Munich on Saturday. The man was under the influence of alcohol and probably fell asleep on a bench, where the perpetrator took advantage of him, reported German newspaper Bild.
Im Laufe des Sonntags meldete sich der 18-Jährige bei der Polizei. Das Opfer konnte Smartphone orten, alarmierte die Polizei. Der Verdächtige wurde von der Polizei in einer Unterkunft für Flüchtlinge festgenommen. Wurde dem Haftrichter vorgeführt, U-Haft
— Carsten_Hagen (@hagen_carsten) August 22, 2023
The suspect, an Afghan national, was apprehended in a refugee shelter in Munich’s Ramersdorf district thanks to geolocation of the phone that was stolen from the victim.
“A young Pole in Munich was raped by an Afghan immigrant. These are the effects of the open border policy,” tweeted Morawiecki yesterday.
“We are one of the safest countries on the continent and we care about the safety of Poles,” he continued. “We will ask the German side to immediately include Polish prosecutors in the investigation.”
Młody Polak w Monachium padł ofiarą gwałtu dokonanego przez imigranta z Afganistanu. Oto skutki polityki otwartych granic.
Jesteśmy jednym z najbezpieczniejszych krajów na kontynencie i dbamy o bezpieczeństwo Polaków.
Zwrócimy się do strony niemieckiej o natychmiastowe… pic.twitter.com/AwhfcwHTBH
— Mateusz Morawiecki (@MorawieckiM) August 23, 2023
Migration has become one of the main topics of the ongoing campaign for the 15 October parliamentary elections.
The ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party is preparing to organise a referendum on election day that will ask Poles, among other things, if they “support the admission of thousands of illegal immigrants from the Middle East and Africa” under the EU’s “forced relocation scheme”.
Morawiecki’s social media post yesterday included a photo of him at the anti-migrant wall built by his government on the border with Belarus. A caption read: “As long as PiS is in power, we will not allow the relocation of illegal immigrants to Poland.”
The main opposition leader, Donald Tusk of Civic Platform (PO), however, has previously accused PiS of hypocrisy, noting that it has overseen unprecedented immigration to Poland during its eight years in power, including many migrants from Muslim-majority countries.
Poland’s ruling party has now unveiled all four questions it wants to include in a referendum, including asking Poles if they „support the admission of thousands of illegal immigrants from the Middle East and Africa…imposed by the European bureaucracy” https://t.co/sWDMhjIqpF
— Notes from Poland 🇵🇱 (@notesfrompoland) August 14, 2023
Yesterday, Poland’s foreign ministry announced that it had “invited a representative of the German embassy” – whom it did not name – for talks on the incident in Munich.
It said the German diplomat had been told of the “urgent need to conduct an information campaign drawing attention to the potential danger of being a victim of similar criminal acts, including against Polish citizens”.
The ministry also asked that the German authorities help facilitate consular assistance for the victim.
Komunikat Ministerstwa Spraw Zagranicznych w sprawie zaproszenia przedstawiciela Ambasady Republiki Federalnej Niemiec ⤵️https://t.co/gvksBB8Q81
— Ministerstwo Spraw Zagranicznych RP 🇵🇱 (@MSZ_RP) August 23, 2023
However, some commentators criticised the response of the Polish authorities.
“The Polish prime minister dragged the tragedy of a young Pole into the election campaign, which is already a scandal, and additionally he did it before he asked the German side to admit our prosecutors,” tweeted Rafał Madajczak, editor-in-chief of news website Gazeta.pl. “The campaign was more important than real aid. What sick logic.”
Another journalist, Patryk Słowik of Wirtualna Polska, also pointed out that PiS’s proposed referendum question refers to migrants from “Africa and the Middle East” whereas, according to Poland’s official geographic name standardisation commission, Afghanistan is in neither of those regions.
An opposition politician, Maciej Gdula of The Left (Lewica), also accused the government of “taking people for fools”. He noted that it has overseen the entry of over a million foreign workers to Poland but now, after the tragedy in Munich, “writes about what a threat migrants are”.
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Main image credit: Fred Romero/Flickr (under CC BY 2.0)
Alicja Ptak is senior editor at Notes from Poland and a multimedia journalist. She previously worked for Reuters.