The applicant, Mr. Jankauskas, was detained on remand. During this time all of his correspondence, including letters to and from state authorities, non-governmental organizations and various private persons (wife, friends, legal counsel), were opened and read by the prison authorities.
Mr. Jankauskas complained that by opening and reading his letters, the prison authorities have violated his right to respect for his correspondence.
The Court observed that opening and reading of Mr. Jankauskas letters was in accordance with national law and it was aimed at preventing the applicant from absconding the trial. The Court accepted that for this reason certain interference such as screening of correspondence with dangerous persons would be justifiable. However, prevention of absconding could not justify indiscriminate and routine checking of all applicant’s correspondence, especially with his legal counsel.
In the present case the Government had not explained why control of all applicant’s letters addressed to and coming from the outside world was indispensable. The Court also did not find any reasons to justify the censorship of letters to the state authorities whereby he may have complained about his detention conditions, or may have made other submissions unrelated to the criminal case against him. Thus the Court found a violation of the applicant’s right to respect for correspondence.