The refusal to rectify religion in the prison record did not hinder religious duties. Non-violation of religious freedom

JUDGMENT

Mariș c. Romania 22.10.2020 (app. no. 58208/14)

see here

SUMMARY

The case concerns the refusal of the Romanian authorities to amend, upon a mere declaration by
Mr Mariş, the entry giving his religion in the register of Miercurea-Ciuc prison.

The applicant mainly alleged that his rights under Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and
religion) of the Convention had been breached.

The Court did not detect any violation of Mr Mariş’s right to respect for his religion and considered
the application to be manifestly ill-founded.

It noted in particular that Mr Mariş’s complaint had been one of a rather abstract and theoretical
nature in so far as he had not alleged that the prison authorities had limited, in any way whatsoever,
the possibility for him actually to manifest his religion. Nor had Mr Mariş informed the Court of any
refusal by the authorities to grant any request from him concerning the fulfilment of his religious
obligations, for example the need to meet a representative of his faith, to attend religious services
or to be served meals permitted by his religion. More generally he had not alleged that the prison
authorities had prevented him from engaging in any acts of worship in accordance with his faith.

PROVISION

Article 9

PRINCIPAL FACTS

The applicant, Valeriu Mariş, is a Romanian national. He was born in 1968 and lives in Braşov
(Romania). From 2002 onwards he served a prison sentence in various Romanian facilities.

Mr Mariş described himself to the Court as Jewish. He also stated that in 2013, while being held in
Miercurea-Ciuc prison, he realised that he had been wrongly listed in the prison registers as an
Orthodox Christian. He asked for the relevant entry to be rectified, but the prison administration
replied that he had to produce a certificate issued by the representatives of the religious
denomination or association to which he claimed to belong. Mr Mariş explained that he had not
asked to be served meals in accordance with Jewish dietary regulations.

Mr Mariş appealed against the refusal to the judge responsible for enforcing custodial sentences,
who granted his request. The judge found in particular that a mere declaration would suffice to
prove his religion. Following an appeal by the prison administration, the court of first instance
rejected Mr Mariş’s request for rectification.

Subsequently he was transferred to Bistriţa prison where he was listed as an Orthodox Christian in
the prison registers. He did not request the amendment of this entry.

Relying mainly on Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion), Mr Mariş complained of
the prison authority’s refusal to rectify the entry giving his religion in his personal file. He also
complained about having to take administrative action, thus incurring certain costs, in order to prove
his religious affiliation.

THE DECISION OF THE COURT…

Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion)

The Court noted that Mr Mariş’s request had been limited solely to the rectification of an alleged
administrative error in his file at the Miercurea Ciuc prison. It also noted that, although the
Government had maintained that the applicant had requested meals in accordance with the Jewish
dietary regulations, the applicant had formally refuted that assertion.

Against this background, the Court considered it necessary to determine whether there had been
any interference with Mr Mariş’s freedom to manifest his religion.

In this connection, the Court was of the view that Mr Mariş’s complaint had been one of a rather
abstract and theoretical nature in so far as he had not alleged that the prison authorities had limited,
in any way whatsoever, the possibility for him actually to “manifest his religion”. The Court thus
observed that, although he had been imprisoned in 2002, he had not filed an application to have his
file rectified until 2013. However, he had not alleged either before the domestic courts or before the
Court that during this period his freedom to manifest his religion had been restricted in any way.
Even assuming that, as he had alleged before the Court, he had been automatically registered as an
Orthodox Christian and had not been consulted at any time about his religion, the Court found that
the entry in his file had been of no consequence in terms of the possibility for him to manifest his
religion. It further noted that the entry in his file had not been intended for public consultation or for
use in daily life, but that it had been accessible only to the prison authority.

Moreover, Mr Mariş had not indicated how the entry in his file had prevented him from manifesting
or practising his religion. He had not informed the Court of any refusal by the authorities to grant
any request from him concerning the fulfilment of his religious obligations, for example the need to
meet a representative of his faith, to attend religious services or to be served meals permitted by his
religion. More generally he had not alleged that the prison authorities had prevented him from
engaging in any acts of worship in accordance with his faith. Nor had he alleged that he had been
subjected to pressure, intimidation or punishment by the prison authorities on account of his
religious affiliation. Furthermore, it appeared from the information provided by the Government,
which was not contested by Mr Mariş, that he had not renewed his request to have his file rectified
after his transfer to another prison.

The Court thus found that no violation of Mr Mariş’s right to respect for his religion, as secured by
Article 9 of the Convention, had been disclosed by the refusal to amend the entry concerning his
religion in the register of Miercurea-Ciuc prison. The application was thus manifestly ill-founded.

 


ECHRCaseLaw

Χρησιμοποιούμε cookies για να σας προσφέρουμε καλύτερη εμπειρία στο διαδίκτυο. Συμφωνώντας, αποδέχεστε τη χρήση των cookies σύμφωνα με την Πολιτική Cookies.

Privacy Settings saved!
Ρυθμίσεις Απορρήτου

Όταν επισκέπτεστε μία ιστοσελίδα, μπορεί να λάβει κάποιες βασικές πληροφορίες από τον browser σας, κατά βάση υπό τη μορφή cookies. Εδώ μπορείτε να ρυθμίσετε τη συγκατάθεσή σας σε όλα αυτά.

These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources, so we can measure and improve the performance of our site.

We track anonymized user information to improve our website.
  • _ga
  • _gid
  • _gat

Decline all Services
Accept all Services