Border guards in Poland noticed that a man’s luggage seemed particular bulky as he tried to enter their country on the eastern border with Belarus at a train station in the town of Terespol. They became suspicious and so investigated and found the French man’s Russian wife inside the suitcase. They then detained the man who is believed to be somewhere in his sixties, in an attempt to get to the bottom of things and understand why the woman had been in the case.
Spokesman for the border guards, Dariusz Sienicki told the AFP, “To their surprise, a woman in her 30s emerged. It was the Russian wife of the owner of the suitcase,” he said. “She was alive and well and didn’t require medical attention”.
The couple were taking the train from Moscow and had intended to travel on to the French city of Nice however, following release after the incident, they are reported to have chosen to return to Belarus.
The strangest thing about the whole ordeal for the couple is that the suitcase was completely unnecessary. Had she simply been sitting next to her husband on the train, they would have been through the passport-free Schengen travel zone and on towards their desired destination with no trouble at all.
“Had she been sitting next to her husband, she would have made it through without incident,” Sienicki said.
As the woman was not a citizen of the European Union, she and her husband apparently believed that she would not be allowed entrance due to her Russian citizenship however, the law says that non-EU citizens will be granted entry if they have the correct documentation which proves marriage to an EU citizen, so as not to break up families in such a way.
Instead of making and effort to understand those laws, the woman jumped in to the suitcase instead which only served to attract attention where they would have been perfectly fine and acting within the boundaries of the law otherwise.
Sienicki added that the pair had risked “a three-year jail sentence because of their attempt to evade border control”, he said. “This was the first time I’ve seen someone travel like this. She very well could have been a victim of human trafficking”.
According to Radio Free Europe, leksei Pushkov, chairman of the Russian Duma's International Affairs Committee, took the opportunity to praise relations with France but criticise Poland. "This is a sign that the strategic partnership between Russia and France has great prospects,” he began, before adding, "But the couple was detained by the Polish border guards. Again, all the problems are from them”.
He then made joking reference to what he perceived as Polish authorities turning a blind eye to smuggling issues before saying, "smuggling a wife in a suitcase is banned”.