Case No 2010-50-03

Constitutional Court of the Republic of Latvia
18 March 2011


The applicant, Mr. Rakuzovs, was serving his prison sentence. The Cabinet Regulations on the Internal Rules of the Prison did not allow him to keep religious objects in his cell.


Mr. Rakuzovs complained that this provision violated his right to freedom of religion under Article 99 of the Constitution and Article 9 of the Convention.

Court’s ruling

The Court pointed that prisoners enjoy freedom of religion, including freedom to manifest religion to the fullest extent compatible with the specific nature of imprisonment. Therefore prisoners also enjoy the right to observe the traditions and rituals of their religion as far as possible. In the case at hand the Court found that the prohibition to keep all religious objects was disproportional. This was especially so taken into account that they could keep other objects like books, photos, headdresses etc.  The Court emphasized that whether a particular object poses danger to internal security must be evaluated in each case. Only if such danger is recognized, a prisoner may be precluded from keeping it in his cell. Thus the Court ruled that the absolute ban of religious objects in prison was not compatible with Article 99 of the Constitution.

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Last updated 08/11/2023