Applicant name X.
Applicant type Natural Person (prisoner)
Country Germany
Decision no. 4445/70
Date 01/04/1970
Institution Commission (Plenary)
Type Decision
Outcome Art. 8 Inadmissible
Reason Ratione materiae
Type of privacy Informational privacy
Keywords Horizontal claim; prisoner’s correspondence monitored; even if
Facts of the case The applicant has complained that the prison authorities and the presiding judge at the Regional Court at M. interfered with his correspondence in that letters which he had written were intercepted and he was refused a sufficient quantity of stamps in prison enabling him to keep up his necessary and voluminous business correspondence.
Analysis The Commission reiterates that it is an inherent feature of lawful imprisonment that a prisoner should be restricted in his right of correspondence and a normal control of a prisoner’s correspondence. Interestingly, it ads that this includes, in certain circumstances, the stopping of letters. Thus, in itself, the blocking of letters is not enough to qualify as an interference with the right to privacy. This seems to go further than what the Commission has stressed in earlier jurisprudence, namely that the monitoring of correspondence in itself is not an interference of prisoners’ human rights.

The case is interesting for two more reasons. First, the Commission applies an ‘even if’ reasoning; it doubts that the applicant has exhausted all domestic remedies, but stresses that ‘even if’ these would have been exhausted, the claim was inadmissible in any case. Second, it makes clear that the applicant cannot complain about the behaviour of other natural persons under the Convention, in this case his lawyer.

Documents Decision