EGMR: Korostelev v. Russia (no. 29290/10)

The applicant, Anton Korostelev, is a Russian national who was born in 1987 and is detained in penal colony IK-18 in the settlement of Kharp (Yamalo-Nenetskiy Region, Russia). The case concerned his complaint about a violation of his religious rights after he had been reprimanded for praying during the prison’s obligatory night-time sleeping period.

Mr Korostelev was sentenced to life imprisonment in June 2009. He is a practising Muslim and believes that it is his religious duty to perform acts of worship at least five times a day, including night-time.

In July 2012 and May 2013, while being held in remand prison no. 1 in the town of Syktyvkar, Republic of Komi (“IZ-1”), prison guards observed him saying prayers in the early hours. They ordered him to return to his sleeping place, but he refused.

The guards reported him to the prison governor for failing to observe the prison’s daily schedule, which stated that a prisoner had to sleep at night between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. After looking into the matter, including statements by the applicant, the governor in August 2012 and May 2013 formally reprimanded him for a breach of the Pre-trial Detention Act.

The applicant appealed to the Syktyvkar Town Court, which dismissed his appeal in November 2012. The court found that his conduct – absence from his sleeping place at the time set for uninterrupted night-time sleep – had violated the daily prison schedule and the legislative rules on prison discipline. The Supreme Court of the Republic of Komi dismissed an appeal by him in February 2013.

The applicant also submitted that he had been reprimanded in IK-18 in March 2018 for an act of worship performed during the daytime.

The applicant complained about the disciplinary proceedings under, in particular, Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience, and religion).

Article 9

Violation of Article 9.

Just satisfaction

€ 2,600 (non-pecuniary damage) and € 2,000 (costs and expenses)

Press release ECHR 130 (2020) 12.05.2020

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