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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

European Court: All prisoners must now get the vote

European Court: All prisoners must now get the vote

On 8 April 2010 the European Court of Human Rights handed down its judgment in the CASE OF FRODL v. AUSTRIA (Application no. 20201/04).

Basically, the Court has re-emphrasised the ruling in Hirst v UK(No2) and highlighted the only examples when the franchise can be removed. Disenfranchisement must be limited to offences related to the electoral process. Therefore, it is irrelevant whether a prisoner is serving a sentence for murder, rape, or paedophilia; or whether the sentence is one year, 4 years, or even life.

The important paragraphs are 28, 34 and 35:

Disenfranchisement may only be envisaged for a rather narrowly defined group of offenders serving a lengthy term of imprisonment; there should be a direct link between the facts on which a conviction is based and the sanction of disenfranchisement; and such a measure should preferably be imposed not by operation of a law but by the decision of a judge following judicial proceedings

there must be a link between the offence committed and issues relating to elections and democratic institutions

The essential purpose of these criteria is to establish disenfranchisement as an exception even in the case of convicted prisoners

This now means that the government's fraudulent consultation exercise is in tatters. It also means that whichever party gets into power they will have no option but to allow all convicted prisoners the vote.

Related content...

Prisoners in Sudan’s Rumbek will cast their votes

Plods view from awhile back here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent. A serious injustice rectified at long last.

I look forward to the campaign in five years time when the sitting prime-minister campaigns in Whitemoor!