Euroopa Inimõiguste Kohus
29.01.2002

Facts

The applicant, Mr. A.B., served his prison sentence. After ten day’s detention  in the prison he was allowed four sheets of paper and four envelopes. No telephone facilities were available to the prisoners apart from previously announced incoming telephone calls not exceeding fifteen minutes.

Complaint

The applicant claimed that he was prevented from establishing contacts outside prison, among other reasons, because of the extremely limited access to telephone.

Court’s ruling

The Court reiterated that it is important for prisoners to be able to maintain contacts with their family and friends outside prison. However, in respect of the telephone facilities, the Court considered that Article 8 of the Convention cannot be interpreted as guaranteeing prisoners the right to make telephone calls, in particular where the facilities for contact by way of correspondence are available and adequate.

The Court continued that where, as in the present case, telephone facilities are provided by the prison authorities, these may be subjected to legitimate restrictions. Having found that other means of communication were available to the applicant as well as the limitations on the usage of telephone facilities were necessary to ensure that all prisoners are able to use these facilities from time to time, the Court found no violation of the right to a private life.