Secrecy of Correspondence

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Secrecy of Correspondence

 

one of the democratic freedoms of the individual. Secrecy of correspondence signifies the inviolability of postal and telegraphic communications of all kinds: letters, telegrams, small packets, parcels, and money orders.

In the USSR, Article 56 of the Constitution guarantees the secrecy of citizens’ correspondence. Correspondence may be attached and removed from postal and telegraph offices only with the sanction of a procurator or by a court decision for the purpose of fighting crime and preserving public order and state security.

Republic legislation—for example, Article 176 of the Code of Civil Procedure of the RSFSR—provides that the personal correspondence of citizens may be read out in an open court session only with the consent of the correspondents; in any other such case, such correspondence is examined in camera. In the USSR, violation of the secrecy of citizens’ correspondence entails criminal liability, as set forth, for example, in Article 135 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR (see alsoFREEDOMS, DEMOCRATIC).