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ECHR orders government to compensate prisoner for violating his right to communication

(BIANET/IFEX) - In a 3 July 2007 ruling, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) sentenced the Turkish government to paying 1,000 euros in compensation and legal expenses to prisoner Erdal Tan for having violated his right to communication.

Tan had sent a letter to "Radikal" newspaper, describing the degrading conditions in the notorious F-type prisons. Prison authorities had prevented the sending of the letter, which, according to the ECHR, represented a "violation of the right to communication".

According to Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, entitled "Right to respect of privacy and family life", everyone has the right to having their "private life and family life, housing and communication" respected.

The 32-year-old, sentenced to 12 years' imprisonment in the F-type Sincan prison in Turkey's capital Ankara, wrote the letter to the newspaper in 2002. Prison authorities had argued that the letter "would create problems" and had refused to send it.

Tan then applied to the ECHR, arguing that his right to communication had been violated.

In the 3 July decision, the ECHR also noted that in the regulations of penal institutions, the degree to which authorities can intervene in the communications of prisoners is not clearly defined.

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