Applicant name X.
Applicant type Natural Person (prisoner)
Country Netherlands
Decision no. 1983/63
Date 13/12/1965
Institution Commission (Plenary)
Type Decision
Outcome Art. 8 Inadmissible
Reason Manifestly ill-founded; Prevention disorder and crime
Type of privacy Informational Privacy; Relational Privacy
Keywords Prisoner; correspondence; right to receive visitors
Facts of the case American citizen was detained in Amsterdam and extradited to the US for possession of illegal substances. The applicant complaints, inter alia, of his maltreatment in the detentions centre, where he was denied the right to have contact with persons that could assist him in his legal affairs and denied the right to correspondence.
Analysis This case again illustrates the extent to which the European Commission on Human Rights believe that limiting prisoners’ rights is legitimate for prison authorities.

– The applicant ‘complains that, during his detention, he was not allowed to receive visitors which was important for him in view of his attempts to arrange for his departure to a country other than the USA; whereas, having regard to the Government’s submissions on this point, it is not clear whether or to what extent the Applicant was refused permission to receive visitors; whereas, however, in so far as any such restrictions on his right to respect for his private life were imposed, the reason was apparently that, in the opinion of the authorities, there was a risk of the Applicant using personal contacts for illegal purposes; whereas the Applicant has failed to show that this opinion held by the authorities was unfounded or unreasonable; whereas the Commission is also satisfied, on the basis of the Government’s submissions, that such restrictions were permissible under Dutch law; whereas it follows that the measures complained of were permissible under Article 8, paragraph (2) (Art. 8-2) of the Convention which permits, inter alia, such interference with the exercise of the right to respect for private life “as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society – for the prevention of – crime -“;’

– ‘Whereas the Applicant further complains of interference with his right to respect for his correspondence (see page 12 “Submissions of the Parties” II/A/4); whereas, in particular, he complains that his correspondence was controlled by the authorities during his detention and that for a certain time such control was also exercised in regard to his correspondence with his lawyer; whereas in a number of previous cases the Commission has examined complaints by detained persons regarding measures of control exercised by the authorities over their correspondence; Whereas in these cases the Commission has generally considered that the practice of permitting prison authorities to examine the correspondence of the detainees falls within the exceptions permitted in Article 8, paragraph (2) (Art. 8-2) of the Convention (see, for instance, Application No. 646/59, X.v.Federal Republic of Germany, Yearbook III, page 272); Whereas the Commission also notes that, in the present case, the authorities considered it essential to control the Applicant’s correspondence in order to prevent the possible committal of narcotics offenses; Whereas the Commission is satisfied, on the basis of the Government’s submissions, that the said control was exercised in accordance with Dutch law; whereas, consequently, the measures complained of were permissible under Article 8, paragraph (2) (Art. 8-2); whereas the Commission adds that, in regard to the particular letter posted on 13th September 1963, it is not satisfied that there has been any undue delay or other interference which could be attributed to the authorities;’

Documents Decision