The Sentence Execution code provided that the applicant, Mr. Ēcis, according to his prison regime could use two telephone conversations per month.
Mr. Ēcis complained that the limitation is too restrictive and does not allow him to communicate with his family properly in violation of his right to respect for his private life.
The Court emphasized that prisoners’ right to private life undoubtedly differs from the right of private life of people outside the prison and may be more limited. However, also prisoners’ rights must not be limited without necessity and state has a positive obligation to help prisoners to maintain relationship with his closest persons outside the prison. In the particular case the Court found that the possibilities to use telephone are so limited, because to ensure the necessary privacy and control, it was practically impossible to ensure the possibility to use the telephone facilities more often. Finding that prisoners also can use other means of communication such as writing letters and receiving visitors, and in special circumstances can make extra phone calls, the Court found no violation of Mr. Ēcis right to private life.