Applicant name X.
Applicant type Natural Person (prisoner)
Country Autria
Decision no. 1753/63
Date 15/02/1965
Institution Commission
Type Decision
Outcome Art. 8 Inadmissible
Reason Manifestly ill-founded; Prevention of disorder or crime
Type of privacy Informational Privacy
Keywords Prisoner; correspondence interfered
Facts of the case Prisoner complains of a number of violation, among others, the inability to send a letter to someone who can legally assist him. It appears, however, that this was a letter to a newspaper.
Analysis This case is interesting for two reasons.

1. First, the Commission does seem to stress that there is a difference between the capacity of prisoners to send letters to their legal defence and to other parties, which was less clear in (1628/62). It stresses, among others, that ‘the letter withheld by the prison authorities was addressed to a newspaper editor and not, as originally indicated by the Applicant, to a person who could be considered to have an official capacity connected with the Applicant’s right of defence.’

2. Second, it does see sending a letter as something that falls under the scope of the right to privacy and the right to freedom of expression. But this case is exemplary for the Commission’s and the Court’s early jurisprudence in that they afford a large margin of discretion to prison authorities to limit the rights and freedoms of prisoners, as limitations on rights and freedoms are intrinsic to imprisonment. In this case, it barely discusses this matter: ‘whereas communications by prisoners to the Press cannot in any way be considered matters of such importance as not to fall under the exception in paragraph (2) if the authorities should have objections to such correspondence; whereas, therefore the authorities have clearly based their action on grounds which are recognised as legitimate under paragraph (2) of each Article’.

Documents Decision