The European Commission of Human Rights sitting in private on 4 March
1986, the following members being present:

              MM. C. A. NØRGAARD, President
                  G. SPERDUTI
                  J. A. FROWEIN
                  G. JÖRUNDSSON
                  S. TRECHSEL
                  B. KIERNAN
                  A. S. GÖZÜBÜYÜK
                  A. WEITZEL
                  J. C. SOYER
                  H. G. SCHERMERS
                  G. BATLINER
                  H. VANDENBERGHE
             Mrs.  G. H. THUNE
             Sir  Basil HALL

Mr. H. C. KRÜGER Secretary to the Commission

Having regard to Art. 25 of the Convention (Art. 25) for the
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

Having regard to the application introduced on 9 October 1984 by
W.M and Others against the United Kingdom and
registered on 23 October 1984 under file N° 11208/84;

Having regard to the report provided for in Rule 40 of the Rules of
Procedure of the Commission;

Having deliberated;

Decides as follows:


The applicants were, at the time of the lodging of their application,
serving prison sentences at HM Prison Magilligan, Northern Ireland.
They had all taken part in an abortive hunger strike begun by a group
of loyalist prisoners to achieve segregation from republican prisoners
which lasted from 19 August 1984 until 18 September 1984.  The facts
of the application, some of which are in dispute between the parties,
may be summarised as follows:

The applicants are:

- William McQuiston, a citizen of the United Kingdom, born in
1956, who was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment on 4 October 1976
for inter alia firearms offences.

- William Ritchie, a citizen of the United Kingdom, born in
1961, who was sentenced to six years' imprisonment on 10 February 1983
for armed robbery.

- Thomas Harris, a citizen of the United Kingdom, born in 1953, who
was sentenced to ten years' imprisonment for armed robbery on 4 March

- Elmer Stevenson, a citizen of the United Kingdom, born in
1953.  On 9 June 1983 he was sentenced to four years' imprisonment for
possession of firearms and ammunition within intent.

- Alan McKenzie, a citizen of the United Kingdom, born in 1961.
On 15 May 1981 he was sentenced to seven years' imprisonment for
possession of firearms.

The applicants are represented by Mr. Richard Monteith, solicitor,
Portadown, Northern Ireland who has submitted powers of attorney to
this effect.

The applicants McQuiston, Harris and Stevenson were released from
prison early in 1985.

The applicants complain of the system of integrating republican and
loyalist prisoners at HM Prison Magilligan.  They claim that they are
forced to remain in their cells for 23 hours per day since they fear
for their own safety if they leave their cells to go for meals, to
wash or to enjoy association with other prisoners.

The applicant McQuiston alleges that on 27 July 1984 he was ordered to
attend a canteen on C Wing H Block 3 (i.e. H3) after he had collected
his meal.  He alleges that a republican prisoner threw a cup of hot
tea around him.  The same prisoner pulled the applicant to the ground
and kicked him.  The applicant received bruising to the head and
scalding to the right shoulder neck and right ear.  A sedative was
prescribed to calm his nerves.

The applicant Ritchie alleges that he was attacked by two republican
prisoners while he was having a shower.  The prisoners threw a bucket
at him and struck him around the head and body with a mop.  He
received bruising to the left shoulder and head and received medical

He states that he was also present on 27 July 1984 when the assault
took place on the applicant McQuiston.  As a result he received
scalding to his left wrist and hand.

The applicant Harris alleges that he was in the shower unit attached
to C Wing H3, when an explosive device which had been planted by
republican prisoners exploded.  He sustained shock and alleges that he
is still affected by periods of nervous shaking.

In May or June 1984 he claims to have been punched severely below the
left ear by a republican prisoner while he was carrying out a painting
duty.  He states that there were three prison officers near the
applicant when he was attacked.

The applicant Stevenson alleges that he had to leave the exercise yard
in B Wing H3 after receiving death threats from 20 republican
prisoners who were present.  He also alleges to have been threatened
with death if he should go to the workshop.  He further claims that he
was attacked by four republican prisoners in the exercise yard.  Two
days after this the same republican prisoner who had been involved in
this attack attacked the applicant again, causing him severe injury to
his left knee and leg.

On 27 August 1984 the applicant was told that he would be stabbed if
he went to the wood yard.  He subsequently discovered that a knife had
been found in the wood yard on 23 August 1984.

The applicant McKenzie alleges that in May 1984 after drinking a cup
of tea he noticed some capsules in the bottom of his cup.  He believes
that this was an attempt by republican prisoners to poison him.  The
cup and its contents were taken away for analysis but he claims that
he was never informed of the result.

On 10 January 1985 the applicants McQuiston, Ritchie, Harris and
Stevenson initiated civil proceedings in the Londonderry County Court,
claiming damages for personal injuries, loss and damage sustained by
reason of the negligence of the prison authorities.  Their actions
relate to the above-mentioned incidents.


Article 2, para. 1 (Art. 2-1)

The applicants have all endured physical assaults and intimidation
from republican prisoners housed in the same prison wings.  They all
claim that they fear for their personal safety and that the respondent
Government have failed to maintain adequate security and to provide
sufficient protection in breach of Art. 2, para. 1 of the Convention
(Art. 2-1).

Article 3 (Art. 3)

They complain that the policy of integrating the applicants with
republican prisoners and the relentless physical attacks which they
are subjected to amount to inhuman treatment.

In addition, they claim to be the victims of inhuman and degrading
treatment in that they have been compelled by the situation to remain
in their cells for 23 hours each day and to go on hunger strike.

Article 5, para. 1 (Art. 5-1)

They complain that their right to security of person has been
inadequately protected by the respondent Government, as shown by the
attacks they have endured.

Article 14 (Art. 14)

The applicants point out that in March 1984 a de facto separation of
loyalist and republican prisoners was permitted at HM Prison Maze.
They claim that at least 21 wings out of 30 in the eight H Blocks of
HM Prison Maze have been segregated.  They maintain that they are thus
the victims of discrimination.


The Respondent Government

Relevant domestic law

It is well established in the law of the United Kingdom that prison
authorities owe a common law duty of care to prisoners to take
reasonable care for their safety, and that this duty covers cases
where a prisoner's safety may be endangered by the risk of attack from
another prisoner (see Ellis v. Home Office <1953> 2 All ER 149).  On
18 May 1984 a judge at Limavady Court awarded damages for personal
injuries to three prisoners in respect of an incident which had
occurred at Magilligan Prison on 31 October 1982.  The plaintiffs,
loyalist prisoners, had been assaulted in the dining hall and the
judge found the Northern Ireland office negligent in failing to
provide adequate protection for them.  Any prisoner, therefore, who
claims to have been assaulted by another prisoner and claims that the
assault arose out of a failure to take proper care on the part of the
prison authorities has a civil action in domestic law and, if
successful, is entitled to damages.  Legal aid is available in such

Northern Ireland Prisons: background

Before the beginning of civil disturbance in 1968 the total prison
population in Northern Ireland was just over 600.  By June 1973 it
stood at over 2,000.

Magilligan Prison was opened in May 1972 and at first consisted of
compound accommodation.  Four compounds were replaced by three H
Blocks similar to those at Maze Prison.  A fifth compound was
demolished and the remaining three are now used for training purposes.
The prison houses some 320 low and medium risk prisoners, many of whom
are in the final stages of their sentences.

In June 1972, in the face of a hunger strike involving a number of
prisoners, the Government introduced special category status for
prisoners involved with both republican and loyalist paramilitary
organisations.  These prisoners were not required to work, could wear
their own clothes and were allowed additional privileges, including
extra visits and food parcels.  It was subsequently found that the use
of compound accommodation gave rise to serious problems of security,
control and administration.  The Gardiner Committee Report examined
the question of special category status and noted that in practice
discipline was exercised by compound leaders and for this reason
rehabilitation was impossible.  It was also emphasized that, by
according special category status to criminals convicted of serious
crimes, support was being lent to their view that political motivation
justified their crimes.  In November 1975 the Secretary of State
announced the Government's intention to phase out special category
status with effect from 1 March 1976.

This decision was staunchly resisted by republican prisoners in the
Maze Prison, leading to the "dirty" campaign and the hunger strikes
during 1980 and 1981.

Following the end of the republican hunger strikes after the death of
ten prisoners in 1981, republican prisoners who conformed with the
prison rules were housed with loyalist prisoners in the Maze Prison.
The loyalist prisoners claimed that they were subject to threats on
their lives as a result of the increasing number of republicans in the
block and began their own campaign for segregation. This campaign
reached its peak in the Maze Prison in October 1982 when they wrecked
the contents of over 1,200 cells and embarked on a "dirty" protest
which, for reasons of health and hygiene, resulted in their

In February 1984 the loyalist prisoners ended their protest and
declared themsleves to conform fully with all aspects of the prison
rules.  The prison authorities then mixed a small number of republican
and loyalist prisoners in one wing of the Maze Cellular Prison.  This
action resulted in almost immediate violence.  As a consequence,
integration of these groups was not forced and many prisoners in the
Maze Cellular Prison remain in practice segregated.

Situation in Magilligan Prison

Following the end of the protest in the Maze Prison, the focus of
attention switched to Magilligan Prison, where loyalist prisoners,
seeing that segregation on a de facto basis had been achieved by many
prisoners in the Maze, embarked on a hunger strike on 21 May 1984.
This ended on 2 June 1984.  A second hunger strike, involving ten
prisoners (including the applicants) began on 19 August 1984.  The
prisoners claimed that they were forced to go on hunger strike because
they feared for their safety.  They resumed eating on 18 September
1984 when it was made clear that the Government were not prepared to
grant segregation, but would take steps to achieve a better balance
between loyalists and republican factions in prison.  This was done at
the beginning of October by moving prisoners between Magilligan and
the Maze.

Throughout the protest action substantial numbers of Catholic and
Protestant prisoners lived together and shared common facilities
without difficulty.

All the prisoners in H1 and H2 including the ten former hunger
strikers, are now taking full advantage of the facilities offered and
are integrating fully for meals, work, exercise and association.  In
H3 from 28 October 1984 the prisoners have operated a system agreed
between themselves of self-imposed segregation with association being
taken by loyalists and republicans on alternate days.  The two
factions, however, work together.  As at 1 May 1985 two wings are
fully conforming and mixing for meals, work, exercise and association.
Only the prisoners in the remaining two wings of the prison, H3B and
H3C, have continued to organise themselves not to share exercise and
association facilities.  Since that date there has not been a single
sectarian incident.

Government policy on segregation in Northern Ireland Prisons

The Government have repeatedly made clear that they do not accept that
there are political prisoners or prisoners of war in Northern Ireland.
The attraction of segregation for those prisoners who see themselves
as "loyalist" or "republican" is that it gives support to their
contention that they are not ordinary criminals but political

The Government regard segregation as being divisive and contrary to
the overall aim of securing good order in prisons. Segregation is
sought after because it increases the power of the paramilitary
organisations.  In segregated conditions, the paramilitary command
structure can operate more effectively because the organisation is
better able to enforce its wishes over prisoners living in segregated
conditions.  Experience has shown that in segregated conditions great
pressure is exerted on staff and on individual prisoners whose
allegiance to the organisations may be waning.  The power the
organisations hold over prisoners gives them some control of their
families outside, and thereby strenghtens the hand of the terrorist
organisations in the community.  Moreover, the authority of the
Governor is undermined since all links between prison administration
and prisoners must be conducted through the paramilitary command

Facts relating to all applicants

The Government deny that loyalists are outnumbered by republicans by a
ratio of 2:1 in H3 Magilligan.  In May 1984 A and B Wings each housed
17 Catholic prisoners and 13 Protestants (1), C Wing housed 16
Catholics and 12 Protestants and D Wing had 16 Catholics and 14
Protestants.  As at 1 May 1985 H3 is composed as follows:  A Wing - 11
Catholics and 13 Protestants, B Wing 15 Catholics and 15 Protestants,
C Wing 14 Catholics and 15 Protestants and D Wing 12 Catholics and 16

(1) The prison authorities keep a record of the religious denomination
of each prisoner.  The Government point out that only a rough
equivalence exists between the terms "republican" and "Catholic", on
the one hand, and "loyalist" and "Protestant" on the other.

On reception of each of the applicants into prison, the balance was as

- the applicant McQuiston was committed to H3 Wing C in May
1984.  The balance of Catholics to other prisoners was 16:12;

- the applicant Ritchie was committed to H3 Wing C in June 1983.
The balance of Catholics to other prisoners was 20:16;

- the applicant Harris was committed to H3 Wing B in July 1983.
The balance of Catholics to other prisoners was 20:18;

- the applicant Stevenson was committed to H1 Wing A in January
1984.  The balance of Catholics to other prisoners was 20:14;

- the applicant McKenzie was committed to H1 Wing B in December
1981.  The balance of Catholics to other prisoners was 19:17.

The applicants, in their description of the daily routine, have not
made any reference to work.  All five applicants worked from
approximately 09.00 hours to 12.00 hours and 14.15 hours to 16.00
hours on weekdays.

In H Blocks 1 and 2, both Protestant and Catholic prisoners exercise
in the normal way but in H3 Wings B and C loyalist prisoners take
exercise during one period and republican prisoners during another.
Similarly, in H1 and 2, and in H3 Wings A and D, from 17.30 hours
until 20.30 hours loyalist and republican prisoners mix together, play
games, watch television or attend evening education classes.  This
occurred also in H3 until December 1982 when loyalist and republican
factions agreed to alternate their association period between them.
This arrangement continued until September 1983 when loyalist
prisoners in H3 refused any association.  Since October 1984 prisoners
have reverted to alternating association for each group.

The Government refer to a letter found during a cell search from a
republican leader to his loyalist opposite number.  The letter shows
that the loyalists' alleged fear for their lives is contrived in
order to further the claim for segregation.  Moreover the letter shows
that both sides collude to stage violent incidents if and when they
consider this useful to their campaign.

During the association periods there are four members of staff in
every Wing.  There is also a permanent "immediate reaction force" of
12 staff and a principal officer to render assistance in the event of
an incident.  Prisoners are permitted on the Wing landing only in
controlled numbers which never exceed four at any one time.  If
prisoners remain in their cells, the cell doors are locked so that
no-one can enter.  When prisoners are in the dining hall they are
locked in so that there is no more movement than necessary.

Since the end of the loyalist hunger strikes all the applicants mixed
freely with Catholic prisoners at work, on their Wings, at football,
at education classes and in association in the dining halls at night.
They work in the company of prisoners from H1 and H2 and all prisoners
take visits in the common visits area.  There is no indication of any
tension in these areas.  Moreover, those hunger strikers housed in H1
or H2 Blocks have been able to associate and work with other prisoners
without apparent fear.

Applicant McQuiston

The Government confirm that on 27 July 1984 a mug of tea was thrown
over the applicant.  There were two members of staff in the immediate
area of the incident and one of them removed the first applicant for
medical help.  The prisoner responsible was later punished for the
offence with inter alia loss of 21 days of remission and three days'
cellular confinement.

The staff involved in this incident deny that the first applicant was
assaulted by any other prisoner.  The incident occurred when the
applicant and three other prisoners were collecting their meals from
the dining hall.  There were five members of staff present on the
landing to supervise the total number of four prisoners who would be
released from their cells at any one time to collect their meals.

Following the incident on 27 July the first applicant was seen by the
hospital officer and his injuries were dressed.  On 30 July he was
seen by the prison doctor who noted blistering on his shoulder and on
the back of his neck.

On 3 August the doctor noted that the area of scalding had settled
down; that there was no sign of infection; and that there was no need
for further dressings.  The first applicant did not mention to the
doctor any additional injuries to his head as a result of kicking.

In August 1984, after complaining of loss of memory and difficulties
of concentration, he was referred by the prison doctor to a
psychiatrist.  He was subsequently seen by a psychiatrist on
3 September 1984 after he had begun a hunger strike.  The psychiatrist
reported that he had no symptoms of any psychiatric illness. Following
the end of his hunger strike he was again seen by a psychiatrist and
medication was prescribed for a period of three to four weeks.

Applicant Ritchie

The Government state that on 12 May 1984 while the applicant Ritchie
was taking a shower a republican prisoner threw an empty mop bucket at
him.  The prisoner was subsequently awarded 28 days' loss of remission
for the offence.

Following the incident the hospital officer who examined the applicant
noted a small mark on his left upper arm.  He had no other complaints.
There was no injury to his head and no medical treatment was required.
On 4 May 1984 he complained of loss of sleep and nervousness.
Sedatives were subsequently prescribed.

On 27 July 1984 the applicant, who had been beside the applicant
McQuiston when he was scalded by hot tea, was reported to have
received a scald to his right wrist.  It was found to be healed by the
prison doctor on 2 August 1984.

On 11 September 1984 when he had gone on hunger strike, he was seen by
the consultant psychiatrist who considered that there were no obvious
symptoms of psychiatric illness.

Applicant Harris

On 1 February 1984, in the washing area, a detonator exploded under a
device containing two ounces of commercial explosive.  Six loyalist
prisoners, including the applicant, were in the vicinity. None of them
was physically injured, although they all appeared shocked and
distressed.  The applicant was examined soon afterwards by the duty
doctor and again the next day.  He was found to be well and not
suffering from shock.  At no stage did he make any complaint to the
doctor about suffering from anxiety or nervousness.  During the course
of his hunger strike he was examined by the consultant psychiatrist
who stated that he noted no symptoms of psychiatric illness.

On 6 June 1984, while the applicant was on painting duty, he was
punched from behind by a republican prisoner.  The prisoner was
subsequently awarded 28 days' loss of remission and 90 days'
confinement to cell during the evening for this offence.  There were
four officers on the wing at the time of the incident.  The third
applicant was examined after the incident and a red mark was detected
below his left ear.  He did not require any treatment.

Applicant Stevenson

In early January 1984 the applicant was seen talking to two republican
prisoners in the exercise yard.  He did not make any complaint to the
prison authorities about their threats and in subsequent interviews
when he alleged that he had been threatened, he refused to name the
person who was threatening him.  Nor did he mention any threat of
stabbing on 27 August 1984 and he went to the wood yard as usual on
that day.  On 23 August 1984 a steel knife was found in a search at
the wood yard area.  It is believed that it could have been used
against staff as handicraft tools had been used to murder a prison
officer less than a year before.  However, it is unlikely that it was
intended for use to attack prisoners, since chisels, axes, hatchets
and saws were already available in the wood yard area.

On 24 April 1984 the applicant attacked and assaulted a republican
prisoner.  He was subsequently awarded 28 days' loss of remission with
90 days' loss of evening association.  On 25 April 1984 he attacked
and kicked the same republican prisoner.  He was subsequently charged
with assault and again awarded 28 days' loss of remission and 90 days'
loss of evening association.

After he had ended his hunger strike in October 1984 he was moved to
the B Wing of H Block 1 where there were 14 Catholics and 10
Protestants.  He mixed freely with Catholic prisoners until his
release on 15 February 1985.  In addition, he continued working in the
wood yard with no apparent distress and no complaints about his

Applicant McKenzie

On 3 May 1984 the applicant complained that an attempt had been made
to poison him.  He showed the hospital officer his mug in the bottom
of which were two partially dissolved tablets.  He stated that the
tablets had come from the tea urn.  The Government state that the
spout of the tea urn is so constructed that it is physically
impossible for two tablets to have passed through it.  It is the
practice that prisoners fill their own mugs and return with them to
their cells so that a prisoner's mug never leaves his possession.  The
Government state that it is difficult to see how the tablets could
have found their way into his mug unless he put them there himself.

The tablets were sent for forensic analysis and were found to be based
on theophylline - drug used in the treatment of asthmatics. It has
been established that only a large dose of this drug would cause ill
effects in a non-asthmatic.  Two tablets would present no danger to

At the end of the applicant's hunger strike he was eventually moved to
B Wing of H Block 1 where he is now detained.  He mixes freely with
Catholic prisoners on the Wing and works alongside them in the prison
wood yard.

Following the report of the incident conerning the tablets, he was put
on special observation which involved his being observed every fifteen
minutes in his cell.  No abnormal behaviour was noted.

Admissibility and merits

Article 26 (Art. 26) - exhaustion of domestic remedies

The applicants complain that they have suffered either mental or
physical injury as a result of the failure of the prison authorities
to take sufficient care for their safety in protecting them from
attacks from republican prisoners.  Four of the five applicants have
issued civil bills claiming damages against the Secretary of State for
Northern Ireland in respect of the incidents invoked in the
application.  In these circumstances the applicants cannot be said to
have exhausted their domestic remedies.

Civil Bills were issued on 10 January 1985 and are still pending
before the courts.  The delay can be attributed to inaction on the
part of the applicants' solicitor.  For a civil bill to be listed for
hearing, it is essential that the plaintiff's solicitor lodge the
original Civil Bill with the County Court Office fourteen days before
the date on which the County Court sittings commence.  The applicants'
solicitor failed to lodge the original Civil Bills for the most recent
sitting of the court at Limavady which began on 11 October 1985.

Abuse of the right of petition

It is submitted that none of the applicants was ever at risk of
serious injury in any of the incidents complained of.  Moreover, it is
clear from the letter discovered in a cell search that loyalist and
republican prisoners are able to co-operate with each other; that
self-imposed segregation does not derive from fear and is not
necessary on grounds of safety.  The present application is part of an
orchestrated campaign for segregation and political status.  It is
claimed that none of the applicants is genuinely concerned about
breaches of the Convention and that the application is intended to
achieve segregation.  As such, it should be dismissed as an abuse of
the right of petition in accordance with Art. 27, para. 2 (Art. 27-2).

Article 2 (Art. 2)

The applicants have not adduced any evidence to show that the
authorities are failing in their duty to protect their right to life
and personal safety.  During an association period there are four
members of staff in every Wing, one of whom is in the dining hall, the
other three on the landing.  There is also an "immediate reaction
force" of 12 staff and a principal officer to render assistance in the
event of an incident.  The incidents cited by the applicants show that
in every case staff reaction has been immediate and that assailants
have been dealt with promptly according to the prison rules.  While
the authorities cannot eliminate every chance of prisoners assaulting
one another, every reasonable precaution was taken to protect the
applicants from harm.

Finally, it is submitted that none of the incidents or injuries
referred to by the applicants reveal a real threat to their lives.
Moreover the complaints of psychiatric illness are not borne out by
the medical records.

Article 3 (Art. 3)

The applicants complain that they are forced to alternate exercise and
association periods with republican prisoners because of fears for
their safety.  The Government regard these fears as exaggerated, not
least because association takes place between republican and loyalist
prisoners at work without incident.  At any event this regime is
self-imposed.  Accordingly, the applicants have not been subjected to
any treatment which could be characterised as inhuman or degrading.

Article 5 (Art. 5)

It is submitted that the phrase "security of person" is to be read in
the context of the right to liberty.  It provides a guarantee against
arbitrary interference with personal liberty.  As such, in the present
case, no issue arises.

Article 14 (Art. 14)

It is the policy of the prison administration that all prisoners
should be treated equally.  Insofar as the applicants suffer from any
discrimination, it is a result of the segregation which is
self-imposed.  In fact, the applicants are seeking to institutionalise
a form of discrimination on religious and political grounds which they
wish the Government to impose.  The de facto segregation which
continues in the Maze Prison came about as a result of the hunger
strikes and "dirty" protest between 1976 and 1982.  It represents an
exception to the general basis on which prisons are administered in
Northern Ireland and progress has been made in phasing it out.  Thus
in October 1984, nine wings were mixed, 15 were wholly republican and
5 wholly loyalist.  It is the stated intention of the Government to
phase out segregation.

It is submitted that, in applying to prisoners in Magilligan the
standards which obtained throughout the rest of the United Kingdom,
they cannot be guilty of discrimination and that no issue arises under
this provision.

The applicants

As to Fact

The applicants state that they do not seek to be treated as political
prisoners or prisoners of war.  Nor do they seek separation on
sectarian grounds.  They do, however, seek separation from republican
prisoners who have sworn to kill and maim them.

They point out that the letter, referred to by the Government as
evidence of collusion between republican and loyalist groups,
post-dates the release from prison of applicants McQuiston, Harris and
Stevenson.  Moreover, the letter was found in the cell of a prisoner
with known psychiatric history.  They deny that there is any collusion
and suggest that it is highly improbable that prisoners would collude
to cause serious bodily injuries or provoke incidents resulting in
loss of remission.

They point out that after the hunger strike they were placed on Wings
where they did not regard the other prisoners as being republicans or
where the republican prisoners were in such small numbers as not to
pose a danger to the applicants.  Moreover, they believe that the
prisoners housed in H Blocks 1 and 2 include few republicans who have
been sentenced for terrorist crimes, whereas prior to the hunger
strike they had been required to work with leading republican
prisoners who threatened them with attack.

The applicant McQuiston contends that the republican prisoner also
physically assaulted him as well as scalding him.  He notes also that
the prison doctor considered it necessary to prescribe a sedative to
calm his nerves as a result of the injuries received.

The applicant Ritchie points out that he was at McQuiston's side when
he was scalded and that his injuries are consistent with a scald.

The applicant Harris maintains that the presence of commercial
explosives in HM Prison Magilligan shows that the respondent
Government is incapable of guaranteeing the applicants' safety.  This
incident alone substantiates their allegations that they are at
serious physical risk.

The applicant Stevenson maintains his allegations that his life was
threatened.  This claim is substantiated by the finding of the steel
knife.  He points out that the tools in the wood yard are subject to
close supervision and could not be transferred to other parts of the
prison.  In addition, he notes the doctor's report dated 25 April 1984
which records a left thigh injury "due to someone kicking him".

The applicant McKenzie concedes that the tablets could not have come
out of the tea urn but believes that they were introduced by a
republican orderly in the canteen area.  He states that he had passed
the mug through the outer grill to the kitchen area staffed by
republican orderlies.

Admissibility and merits

Exhaustion of domestic remedies

The applicants contend that the remedies available to them before the
Northern Ireland courts are not sufficient and are not capable of
providing redress for their complaints.  The courts cannot bring about
a change in Government policy concerning the integration of loyalist
and republican prisoners.  Nor could the courts end the discrimination
that exists between the treatment of loyalist prisoners at HM Prison
Maze and at HM Prison Magilligan.

Finally, they point out that although the civil bills were issued on
10 January 1985 they have not yet come to trial.  They contend that
such a lengthy delay renders this remedy ineffective.

The Government's assertions that the cases have to be re-listed are
incorrect.  There is no need to further re-enter bills once they have
been listed for hearing.  All four applicants who issued civil bills
had their case listed for "reserve day C".

Abuse of the right of petition

The applicants are genuinely concerned about the breaches of the
Convention and have taken all necessary steps to complain to the
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the prison Governor and the
courts.  They have been at risk of serious injury and the respondent
Government have admitted the presence of an explosive device, a knife
and the various attacks alleged by the applicants.

Article 2 (Art. 2)

Article 2 (Art. 2) cannot be interpreted as excluding "any possible
violence".  The applicants contend that the repeated assaults, the
scaldings, the attempted murder and the explosive device are totally
unacceptable levels of violence against the life of prisoners.  They
claim that their right to life was inadequately proected by the prison

The respondent Government have a duty under Art. 2 (Art. 2) to protect
the life of the applicants against attacks by other prisoners.  The
Commission must consider the appropriateness and efficiency of the
measures taken by the prison authorities at HM Prison Magilligan (see
X. v. the United Kingdom, Dec. No. 9348/81).

Article 3 (Art. 3)

The applicants contend that they were exposed to "degrading
treatment".  The culmination of physical and mental abuse from
republican prisoners aroused in each of them such feelings of fear and
anguish that they were driven to act against their will or conscience
by going on hunger strike as a last resort.  The fact that four of
them had only a few months of their sentence to serve but still went
on hunger strike shows how desperate they were.  In this respect they
refer to the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the
case of Ireland v. the United Kingdom where degrading treatment was
stated to arouse in "their victims feelings of fear, anguish and
inferiority capable of humiliating and debasing them and possibly
breaking their phsyical and moral resistance" (Judgment of 18.1.78,
para. 167).

Article 5, para. 1 (Art. 5-1) (Right to security of person)

The applicants contend that their transfer from HM Prison Maze to HM
Prison Magilligan did not protect their right to security of person
since it is based on an arbitrary policy as regards which prisoners
will be moved, why they are moved and when they are moved.

Article 14 (Art. 14)

The applicants submit that there can be no objective justification for
the difference of treatment of prisoners serving their sentences in HM
Prison Maze and those serving their sentences at HM Prison Magilligan.
The prisoners at HM Prison Maze can enjoy their rights to security of
person and freedom from degrading treatment because the respondent
Government permits de facto separation of loyalist and republican
prisoners.  At HM Prison Magilligan, however, there exists a policy of
integrating loyalist and republican prisoners which has resulted in
the applicants being exposed to assaults threatening their lives and
to degrading treatment.


1.  The applicants who, at the time of the lodging of their
application were all detained in HM Prison Magilligan, Northern
Ireland, complain that the prison authorities failed to take
sufficient measures to protect them against violent attacks by
republican prisoners.  They invoke Arts. 2 (Art. 2), 3 (Art. 3),
5 (Art. 5) and 14 (Art. 14) of the Convention.

2.  The respondent Government submit firstly that the application
should be dismissed as an abuse of the right of petition and, in the
alternative, for failure to exhaust domestic remedies.

As regards abuse of the right of petition

3.  The Government submit that the present application is part of
an orchestrated campaign for segregation and political status and that
none of the applicants is genuinely concerned about breaches of the

4.  The applicants, however, submit that they have all been at
risk of serious injury and have attempted, with no success, to seek
redress from the Northern Ireland courts and from the Secretary of

5.  The Commission has previously observed that a finding of abuse
might be made in such circumstances if it appeared that an application
was clearly unsupported by evidence or outside the scope of the
Convention (Dec. No. 8317/78, 15.5.80, D.R. 20, p. 44).  However, in
the present case, the allegations made by the applicants that they had
been attacked by republican prisoners in Magilligan have been
substantiated to a certain extent by the observations of the
respondent Government.  In such circumstances the Commission does not
consider the application to be an abuse of the right of petition.

As regards exhaustion of domestic remedies

6.  The Government note that four of the applicants have brought
actions for damages before the Northern Ireland courts concerning the
attacks against them.  Since these actions are still pending it is
submitted that the applicants have not exhausted the remedies at their

7.  The Commission recalls that under Art. 26 of the Convention
(Art. 26) an applicant is required to make "normal use" of remedies
likely to be effective and adequate to remedy the matters of which he
complains (see, for example, Decs. Nos. 5577-5583/72, 15.12.72,
D.R. 4, p. 64). It is furthermore settled that the burden of proving
the existence of adequate and effective remedies lies upon the State
(see Eur. Court H.R., Deweer case, judgment of 27.2.80, para. 26).

8.  In the present case the applicants allege that the remedies
available under Northern Ireland law are insufficient in respect of
their complaints.  They point out that a court could only award
damages for negligence whereas they seek segregation from republican

9.  The Commission notes that the applicants complain firstly
under Art. 2 of the Convention (Art. 2) that the prison authorities
did not take sufficient measures in HM Prison Magilligan to protect
their lives against attack by republican prisoners.  They contend that
the only effective protection would have been to segregate loyalist
and republican prisoners.  The applicants also allege as part of their
complaint under Art. 3 (Art. 3) that the attacks on them amounted to
inhuman treatment.

10.  However four of the applicants have initiated civil
proceedings for negligence before the Londonderry County Court
claiming that the authorities have failed in their duty to take proper
care to protect them against attack.  In the Commission's view such a
claim raises in substance the same issues as the applicants' complaint
under Art. 2 (Art. 2) and that aspect of their complaint under Art. 3
(Art. 3) concerning the attacks against them.

11.  The applicants further challenge the effectiveness of the
remedy pointing out that the civil bills were issued on 10 January
1985 and have not yet come to trial.

12.  The respondent Government reply that the applicants themselves
are responsible for the delay since they have not complied with the
appropriate procedure to have the case listed for a hearing.  The
applicants contest this point.

13.  The Commission finds that it is not necessary to decide
whether or not the applicants have taken the necessary steps to have
their cases heard since, in its opinion, the delay in question is not
sufficient to render the remedy of a civil action ineffective.
Accordingly an examination of the case as it has been submitted does
not disclose the existence of any special circumstances which might
have absolved the applicants according to the generally recognised
rules of international law from exhausting the domestic remedies at
their disposal.  This part of the application must therefore be
dismissed under Art. 27, para. 3 of the Convention (Art. 27-3) for
failure to exhaust domestic remedies.

14.  The applicants further complain under Art. 3 of the Convention
(Art. 3) that they have been subjected to inhuman and degrading
treatment; that the prison authorities have failed to protect their
security of person as guaranteed by Art. 5, para. 1 (Art. 5-1), and
that they are victims of discrimination contrary to Art. 14 (Art. 14).

15.  The Commission considers, however, that the respondent
Government have not shown that the law of Northern Ireland affords a
remedy in respect of these complaints.  In this respect the provisions
of the Convention do not form part of the law of Northern Ireland and
thus it would not have been open to the applicants to have these
complaints considered by a Northern Ireland court.  Accordingly these
complaints cannot be rejected for failure to exhaust domestic

As regards Article 3 (Art. 3)

16.  The applicants make the following complaints under this

- that the policy of integrating them with republican prisoners and
the attacks they have been subjected to, constitute inhuman treatment;

- that the situation in Magilligan was so grave that they were
compelled to remain in their cells for 23 hours each day and to embark
on a hunger strike.  They submit that their action derives from the
policy of integration and is thus the responsibility of the

17.  Art. 3 (Art. 3) states:

"No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment."

18.  The Commission has held that the notion of inhuman treatment
includes at least such treatment as deliberately causes severe
suffering, whether mental or physical, and that an individual's
treatment may be said to be degrading if it grossly humiliates him
before others or drives him to act against his own will or conscience
(see Ireland v the United Kingdom, Comm. Rep. 25.1.76, Yearbook 19,
pp. 745 and 752).

19.  However the Court has stressed that "ill-treatment must attain
a minimum level of severity if it is to fall within the scope of
Article 3" (Art. 3).  The assesment of this minimum is, in the nature of
things, relative, it depends on all the circumstances of the case,
such as the duration of the treatment, its physical or mental effects
and, in some cases, the sex, age and state of health of the victim
(Eur. Court H.R., Ireland v the United Kingdom, 18.1.78, para. 162).

20.  With respect to the applicants' first complaint under this
head the Commission notes that the policy of integration of prisoners
in Northern Ireland was introduced following the withdrawal of special
category status pursuant to a recommendation from the Gardiner
Committee.  This Committee had noted, in particular, that the housing
of prisoners in compounds gave rise to substantial problems of
security and discipline within the prison and favoured the
organisation and activities of both loyalist and republican
paramilitary groups (see above p. 6; see also, in this regard, the
Commission's comments in Dec. No. 8317/78, 15.5.80, D.R. 20, pp. 81
and 100).

21.  Against this background the Commission cannot consider that
the policy of integration of loyalist and republican prisoners in
Northern Ireland is inherently inhuman or degrading.  Nor does it
consider that the Convention guarantees, in principle, a right for
prisoners of different political persuasions to be detained in
segregated conditions (see mutatis mutandis, Dec. No. 8317/78, loc.
cit., pp. 77 and 80).

22.  The applicants' second complaint under this head, however,
puts at issue the implementation of this policy in HM Prison
Magilligan.  They allege that they were, in effect, compelled as a
measure of self-protection, to remain in their cells and to embark on
a hunger strike.

23.  The Commission notes that, in fact, the applicants were not
confined to their cells for 23 hours each day as alleged.  The
Government point out in their observations, and it has not been
contested by the applicants in their reply, that all the applicants
worked during week days in the mornings and afternoons.  It appears,
however, that they chose to alternate exercise and association periods
with republican prisoners and that from September 1983 until October
1984 they refused all association opportunities.

24.  In the Commission's view the applicants freely adopted the
above prison routine and chose to embark on a hunger strike by way of
protest against the policy of integration.  The facts do not support
their contention that the situation was so dangerous that they were
compelled to protest in this way.  Thus, contrary to their
allegations, the figures provided by the respondent Government
concerning the members of republican and loyalist prisoners in the H
blocks do not reveal a gross imbalance (see above p. 7).  Nor is there
any indication that the H blocks were inadequately staffed.  On the
contrary special precautions were taken both in terms of staff and
prison routine to guard against the outbreak of interfactional
violence (see above loc. cit.).

25.  Moreover an examination of the facts does not reveal such a
general atmosphere of violence that the applicants could legitimately
fear for their lives.  In this respect the Commission must have regard
to the common interest that both loyalist and republican prisoners
have, as evidenced by the campaigns for segregation and political
status waged in both the Maze and Magilligan prisons, in achieving
segregation.  Indeed it appears that in most parts of the prison a
modus vivendi has been worked out between loyalist and republican
prisoners who apparently work and associate together in safety (see
above pp. 6 - 7).  Seen against this background the attacks referred
to by the applicants - which in the cases of Stevenson and McKenzie
are contested by the Government - do not support the picture of
violence painted in their submissions to the Commission.

26.  The Commission concludes, therefore, that the actions
undertaken by the applicants were of a voluntary nature for which they
alone are responsible.  Their complaints under this provision must
therefore be rejected as manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of
Art. 27, para. 2, of the Convention (Art. 27-2).

As regards Article 5, para. 1 (Art. 5-1)

27.  The applicants further complain that the policy of integration
is in violation of their right to security of person as guaranteed by
Art. 5, para. 1 (Art. 5-1), which states that "Everyone has the right
to liberty and security of person".

28.  However the Commission has constantly held in its case-law
that the concept of "security of person" must be read in conjunction
with the word "liberty" and provides a guarantee against an arbitrary
interference with personal liberty.  In particular, it guarantees that
individuals will be arrested and detained in accordance with the
procedural and substantive requirements of an existing law (Dec.
No. 7050/75, D.R. 19, p. 18).  The applicants complain that the policy
of transferring loyalist prisoners to Magilligan is an arbitrary one
and, in this sense, breaches their right to security of person.  It is
clear, however, that the transfer of prisoners falls outside the
concept of "security of person" as interpreted by the Commission.
Moreover the Commission has constantly held that the Convention does
not guarantee a right to be detained in a particular prison (see
Campbell and Fell case, Dec. Nos. 7819/77 and 7878/77, Comm. Report,
12.5.82, pp. 107 and 132).

29.  It follows that this complaint must be rejected as
incompatible ratione materiæ with the Convention within the meaning of
Art. 27, para. 2, of the Convention (Art. 27-2).

As regards Article 14 (Art. 14)

30.  The applicants claim that they are victims of discrimination
contrary to Art. 14 (Art. 14) since there exists de facto separation
of loyalist and republican prisoners in the Maze Cellular Prison.

31.  Art. 14 (Art. 14) states:

"The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention
shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex,
race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national
or social origin, association with a national minority, property,
birth or other status."

32.  In so far as the applicants complain under this provision that
prisoners in Maze Prison are segregated while prisoners in Magilligan
are not, the Commission recalls its finding that the Convention does
not guarantee a right to be detained under segregated conditions (see
above, para. 21).  Accordingly no issue of discrimination can arise in
this respect since this provision only provides that the rights set
forth in the Convention shall be secured without discrimination.

33.  Finally in so far as the applicants complain that because of
the policy of integration in Magilligan prison they are exposed to a
greater risk of attack than prisoners in the Maze prison the
Commission considers that Art. 14 (Art. 14) does not oblige State
authorities to follow the same policy in dealing with prison disputes
in every prison.  Prison authorities must remain free to decide which
measures are appropriate in a particular institution to protect the
lives and bodily integrity of its inmates (see mutatis mutandis Dec.
No. 8317/76, loc. cit. p. 101).

34.  The prison authorities in Maze Prison decided not to force
integration of loyalist and republican prisoners because of the
violent response from both groups of prisoners and a history of bitter
and tragic protest since 1976 (see above p. 5).

While there have been episodic incidents of violence in Magilligan
prison the degree of violent reaction has been much less.  The
Commission does not consider therefore that the situation in these
prisons is analagous and thus no question of discrimination arises
(see in this respect Eur. Court H.R., Van der Mussele case, judgment
of 23.11.83, para. 46).

35.  It follows that this complaint must also be rejected as being
partly incompatible ratione materiæ with the Convention and partly
manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Art. 27, para. 2, of the
Convention (Art. 27-2).

For these reasons, the Commission


Secretary to the Commission           President of the Commission

     (H.C. KRÜGER)                          (C.A. NØRGAARD)