Four months ago Polish law enforcement officers arrested Artem Vaulin, the alleged founder of KickassTorrents, who’s been held in a local prison since.
Polish authorities acted on a criminal complaint from the U.S. Government, which accused him of criminal copyright infringement and money laundering.
Over the past few weeks, Vaulin has been fighting a U.S. extradition request. However, facing serious back problems, he was recently transferred to a hospital for treatment and further research.
Initially, the court ruled that the health problems weren’t serious enough, but the prison director later decided that his facility doesn’t have the means for adequate treatment
According to defense attorney Aleksander Emil Kowzan, Vaulin’s back problems are severe. He further notes that several of the upcoming extradition hearings are postponed for now.
“The hearings that were scheduled for the coming days are canceled. Due to the state of his health, our client can not be transported to court,” Vaulin’s lawyer told the Polish press agency.
“Doctors have no doubt that surgery is necessary. What’s more, there is a slight paralysis, loss of sensation in the lower limb,” he added.
The defense team has asked an expert to determine whether their client is fit enough to take part in future hearings of his case. If not, they must look for alternative solutions. One thought that was raised is to hold the hearings at the hospital.
Despite his health problems, Polish authorities are keeping a close eye on the alleged KickassTorrent owner. Vaulin is continuously guarded by four officers, two outside and two inside his room.
This is a violation of his rights, according to the defense team, who plan to file a complaint with the ombudsman. The fact that the alleged KickassTorrent operator is cuffed to his bed at night is particularly worrying.
“Mr. Vaulin is under constant supervision of four officers – two in the room and two in the front hall. At night, when there are no doctors, there is – in our opinion – a shameful situation. He is handcuffed to the bed.”
“This is strongly opposed by the doctors, who explained that this might cause nerve damage,” Vaulin’s lawyer added.
Over the past months, Vaulin’s lawyers have pointed out several human rights violations. In addition to the current situation, he was also unable to meet with his U.S. counsel to prepare his defense.
For now, Vaulin remains at the hospital. Previously, the court prolonged his custody until mid-February, but if the case is delayed there could be a further extension.