April 2022 – On 7 April 2022, the Constitutional Court of Turkey has concluded a case on the recording of personal letters of inmates through the Official National Judiciary Informatics System (the “System”), which is an e-justice system that covers all judicial institutions and other governmental departments. In its decision, the Constitutional Court unanimously ruled that the right to privacy and freedom of communication of the Applicant has been violated.
What is the background of the case?
Before the Applicant applied to the Constitutional Court, the following took place:
The Constitutional Court finds the current practice unlawful!
The Constitutional Court has underlined that only laws can restrict fundamental rights and freedoms. The Constitutional Court also outlined that in case of interference with a fundamental right and freedom, it is necessary to consider whether it is envisaged by legislation or not, and whether such interference constitutes a violation.
In this case, although the Constitutional Court has stated that there are legal regulations that allow the inmates’ correspondence to be recorded in the System, the legal status of a "circular” is not sufficient to restrict fundamental rights and freedoms.
In this context, the Constitutional Court pointed out that the following issues have to be regulated by law in order to record the personal data of inmates:
In conclusion, as the issues outlined above were not regulated by law in this specific case, the Constitution Court has concluded that there is no legal basis for the interference with the right to privacy and freedom of communication. Therefore, the Constitutional Court has ruled that the right to privacy and freedom of communication of the Applicant has been violated.
You can find the decision here (in Turkish only).