Danilevich v. Russia at the European Court of Human Rights

Danilevich v. Russia at the European Court of Human Rights
Photo source: Council of Europe https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/coronavirus-exceptional-measures-at-the-european-court-of-human-rights

Roos Willemijn Craanen

International Justice and Human Rights Researcher

Global Human Rights Defence

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) examined whether prison inmates serving a life sentence should be allowed to have telephone contact with the outside world in Russia. The case concerns the convicted Danil Aleksandrovich Danilevich, who had been found guilty of numerous crimes (e.g. kidnapping, illegal possession of weapons, murder and membership to an organised criminal group). For his crimes, he was sentenced to serve a life sentence in Russia. In accordance with the strict Russian Code of Execution of Criminal Sentences, Danilevich was deprived of any contact with the outside world via telephone for the first 10 years of his sentence. However, after the 10-year period had elapsed, Danilevich continued to be deprived of his ability to contact his family. He complained to the ECHR that the decision to deprive him from telephone contact amounted to a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life). The Court found a violation of Article 8 stating that the severity of the crimes Danilevich committed did not justify the deprivation of contact with his family and new-born son. Importantly so, the ECHR critiqued the Russian law by stating that “states should not have a free rein in applying restrictions in a general manner without any degree of flexibility” (HUDOC Press Release ECHR 311, p. 2). The applicant was awarded 3,400 euros for the non-pecuniary damage he suffered.

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Figure 1) Council of Europe. (18 March 2020). Newsroom - Coronavirus: Exceptional Measures at the European Court of Human Rights. Council of Europe. https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/coronavirus-exceptional-measures-at-the-european-court-of-human-rights.