Korostelev v. Russia (Application no. 29290/10)

A selection of key paragraphs can be found below the document.


57. The Court reiterates that, during their imprisonment, prisoners continue to enjoy all fundamental rights and freedoms, save for the right to liberty (see Khoroshenko v. Russia [GC], no. 41418/04, § 116, ECHR 2015, with further references). Accordingly, on imprisonment a person does not forfeit his or her Convention rights, including the right to freedom of religion, so that any restriction on that right must be justified in each individual case. 

61. The Court cannot discern anything to suggest that the applicant’s adherence to Salah at night-time posed any risks to prison order or safety. The applicant did not use dangerous objects or seek to engage in collective worship in a large group together with other prisoners (see, by contrast,X.v.Austria, no. 1753/63, Commission decision of 15 February 1965 concerning confiscation of prayer beads from a Buddhist prisoner). 

62. Moreover, the applicant’s worship did not disturb the prison population or the prison guards, because he performed Salah while in solitary confinement and, as far as can be seen from the material before the Court, did not produce any noise or other disturbing factors (see, by contrast,Kovaļkovs v. Latvia(dec.), no.35021/05, §§ 64-66 and 68, 31 January 2012 as far as it concerns confiscation of the incense sticks which created a powerful odour from the imprisoned applicant). There was no interference of the applicant’s worship with the prisoners’ daytime routine, including assisting with investigative actions or attending court hearings. Lastly, it does not appear that performing Salah left the applicant exhausted or could have undermined his health or his ability to participate in criminal proceedings. 

65. In the light of the above, the Court concludes that the interference with the applicant’s freedom of religion resulting from his disciplinary punishment did not strike a fair balance between the competing interests and was disproportionate to the aims referred to by the Government. It cannot therefore be regarded as having been necessary in a democratic society within the meaning of the second paragraph of Article 9 in the particular circumstances of the case. Accordingly, there has been a violation of Article 9 of the Convention.


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