(Application no. 4902/02)
16 November 2006
This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Čiapas v. Lithuania,
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Mr B.M. Zupančič,
Mr J. Hedigan, appointed to sit in respect of Lithuania,
Mr C. Bîrsan,
Mr V. Zagrebelsky,
Mrs A. Gyulumyan,
Mr E. Myjer,
Mr David Thór Björgvinsson, judges,
and Mr V. Berger, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 24 October 2006,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
11. A further decision on the censorship of the applicant's correspondence was taken by a prosecutor on 7 February 2003 on the same grounds, in the context of another criminal case concerning a fresh episode of alleged robbery and blackmail.
most of the above period the applicant was held at the Šiauliai
Remand Prison - with certain interruptions due to his temporary
transfers to other prisons. According to the Government, during the
19 November 2001 to 1 April 2003, a total number of 121 letters received or sent by the applicant were censored at the Šiauliai Remand Prison. 113 of these were received from or addressed to the applicant's wife. The remaining 8 letters were received from or addressed to: a) GB, a partner of the applicant's co-suspect; b) SA, the applicant's co-suspect; c) KV, a detainee and the applicant's acquaintance; d) AE and GG, the applicant's acquaintances.
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW AND PRACTICE
“1. Letters sent or received by a remand prisoner, except for cases stipulated in the second paragraph of this article, may be subject to censorship (gali būti cenzūruojami).
2. Proposals, applications and complaints addressed to the [State authorities] and the European Court of Human Rights shall not be subject to censorship and shall be dispatched within one day from their receipt.”
I. THE GOVERNMENT'S PRELIMINARY OBJECTION
II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 8 OF THE CONVENTION
“1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”
III. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”
B. Costs and expenses
C. Default interest
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, EUR 1,000 (one thousand euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage, plus any tax that may be chargeable;
(b) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amount at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points;
Done in English, and notified in writing on 16 November 2006, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Vincent Berger Boštjan M. Zupančič