Khoroshenko v. Russia (Application no. 41418/04)

Key paragraph(s) can be found below the document.

146. The Court concludes that the interference with the applicant’s private and family life resulting from such a low frequency of authorised visits, solely on account of the gravity of a prisoner’s sentence was, as such, disproportionate to the aims invoked by the Government. It further notes that the effect of this measure was intensified because it was applied over such a long period of time, as well as by various rules on the modalities of prison visits, such as the ban on direct physical contact, separation by a glass wall or metal bars, the continuous presence of prison guards during visits, and the limit on a maximum number of adult visitors (see Trosin, cited above, §§ 43-46).

147. In the applicant’s case the above-mentioned additional restrictions made it especially difficult for him to maintain contacts with his child and elderly parents during a time when maintaining contact with his family was particularly crucial for all the parties involved (see paragraphs 23-25 and 97 above). A complete ban on direct physical contact with the applicant and the presence of a guard within hearing distance during this period contributed to the applicant’s inability to establish close bonds with his son during the key period of the latter’s early life, and also had an adverse impact on contacts with his aging father during the period when the father could still visit the applicant in person. Moreover, it is evident that, given the limit on the number of adult visitors and the low frequency of authorised visits, certain of his relatives and members of the extended family may simply have been unable to visit him in prison throughout this period.

148. Having regard to the combination of various long-lasting and severe restrictions on the applicant’s ability to receive prison visits and the failure of the impugned regime on prison visits to give due consideration to the principle of proportionality and to the need for rehabilitation and reintegration of life-sentence prisoners, the Court concludes that the measure in question did not strike a fair balance between the applicant’s right to the protection of private and family life, on the one hand, and the aims referred to by the respondent Government on the other, and that the respondent State has overstepped its margin of appreciation in this regard.

149. It follows that there has been a violation of the applicant’s right to respect for his private and family life, as guaranteed by Article 8 of the Convention, as a result of the application of the strict regime in the special‑regime correctional colony in his case.


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