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United Kingdom: Final court judgement on prisoners’ voting rights

Judges today backed more than 1,000 United Kingdom prisoners in their human rights battle with national authorities over the right to vote.

In today’s committee judgment in the case of McHugh and Others v. the United Kingdom (no. 51987/08 and 1,014 others), which is final, the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

a violation of Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 (right to free elections) to the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case concerned 1,015 prisoners who, as an automatic consequence of their convictions and detention pursuant to sentences of imprisonment, were unable to vote in elections.

The court concluded that there had been a violation of Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 because the case was identical to other prisoner voting cases in which a breach of the right to vote had been found and the relevant legislation had not yet been amended.

It rejected the applicants’ claim for compensation and legal costs.

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