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

                        MM. C.A. NØRGAARD, President
                            G. SPERDUTI
                            E. BUSUTTIL
                            G. JÖRUNDSSON
                            G. TENEKIDES
                            B. KIERNAN
                            A.S. GUZÜBÜYÜK
                            A. WEITZEL
                            J.C. SOYER
                            H.G. SCHERMERS
                            J. CAMPINOS
                            H. VANDENBERGHE
                        Mrs G.H. THUNE
                        Sir Basil HALL

                        Mr. H.C. KRÜGER, Secretary to the Commission

Having regard to Article 25 of the Convention for the Protection of
Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Having regard to the application introduced on 11 December 1984 by
V.R.U. against the Netherlands and registered on 17 December 1984
under file No. 11308/84;

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

Having deliberated;

Decides as follows:


The applicant is an association (V.R.U.) with its registered office at
Utrecht.  In the proceedings before the Commission it is represented
by Mrs. Kubatsch, a lawyer practising at Utrecht.

As from 1978, the applicant had weekly office hours by permission of
the prison director, and on an apparently experimental basis, at the
prison of Utrecht (Huis van Bewaring I), in order to provide the
prisoners with certain legal information and to look after their
interests on a non-commercial basis.

On 20 September 1982, some prisoners informed members of the applicant
association about the circumstances under which a prisoner had
committed suicide.  At the request of the prisoners, the applicant
asked the Chief Prosecutor (Hoofd Officier van Justitie) to order an
inquiry into the circumstances under which the suicide had taken
place.  At the request of the prisoners and after permission from the
deceased's mother, but without informing the prison authorities, the
applicant drafted a press relese which was given to the General Dutch
Press Agency (Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau).

As a result of this press release, several newspapers published
articles about the suicide, in which apparently the blame for the
incident was put on the prison authorities.  The applicant's behaviour
in this respect appears to have greatly disturbed prison staff which
had spent much time and care on the prisoner concerned.

On 8 November 1982, the director of the prison withdrew the
applicant's right of access to the prison.

On 28 November 1982, the applicant appealed against this decision to
the Council of State's Division for Jurisdiction (Afdeling Rechtspraak
van de Raad van State)  but this appeal was rejected on 14 June 1984.
The Council considered, inter alia, that the applicant had failed to
respect its agreement with the director of the prison concerning the
way in which legal advice and information were to be given and found
that this had adversely affected the living conditions in the prison.
The Council also attached importance to the fact that the prison
director had already taken steps to ensure a continuation of legal
assistance in the prison.


The applicant complains that it is deprived of the right to gather and
impart information and to express its ideas concerning this
information because of the withdrawal of its right to operate in the
prison of Utrecht.  The applicant invokes Articles 9 and 10 of the


1.      The applicant has complained that, because of the withdrawal
of its right of access to the prison, it could no longer express
certain ideas and has invoked Article 9 (Art. 9) of the Convention
which reads inter alia:

"1.  Everyone has the right to freedom of thought,
conscience and religion;  this right includes freedom
to change his religion or belief and freedom, either
alone or in community with others and in public or
private, to manifest his religion or belief, in
worship, teaching, practice and observance. ...."

The Commission recalls that Article 9 (Art. 9) primarily protects the
sphere of personal beliefs and religious creeds, i.e. the area which
is sometimes called the forum internum.  In addition, it protects acts
which are intimately linked to these attitudes such as acts of worship
or devotion which are aspects of the practice of a religion or belief
in a generally recognised form.

The Commission, however, finds that although the aims of the applicant
association are of an idealistic nature, viz. providing legal advice
to prisoners and looking after their interests on a non-commercial
basis, it cannot be said that in the present case it exercised the
rights contained in Article 9, para. 1 of the Convention (Art. 9-1)
either in its own capacity or as a representative of its members (cf.
Dec. No. 7805/77, 5.5.79, D.R. 16, p. 60).  This part of the
application must, consequently, be rejected as manifestly ill-founded
within the meaning of Article 27, para. 2 (Art. 27-2) of the

2.      The applicant has further complained that the decision of the
prison authorities to withdraw its right of access constituted an
unjustified interference with its right to freedom of expression.  The
applicant has invoked Article 10 (Art. 10) of the Convention in this
respect, which provides that:

"1.   Everyone has the right to freedom of expression.  This
right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive
and impart information and ideas without interference by
public authority and regardless of frontiers.  This Article
shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of
broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

2.  The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it
duties and responsibiities, may be subject to such
formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are
prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society,
in the interests of national security, territorial integrity
or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime,
for the protection of health or morals, for the protection
of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the
disclosure of information received in confidence, or for
maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary."

The Commission notes that the applicant was granted access to the
prison concerned on the basis of an agreement between the applicant
and the prison director concerning the way in which the former would
carry out its activity in prison.  The applicant was not hindered in
expressing its opinion to the press, but as this expression was in
breach of the agreement with the prison director, it resulted in the
termination of the agreement.

The Commission is of the opinion that the termination of the agreement
did not restrict the applicant's right to impart information any
further than the applicant had accepted when entering into the
agreement.  The decision taken by the authorities not to grant the
application further permission to operate in prison thus cannot be
considered to constitute an interference with the applicant's rights
under Article 10, para. 1 (Art. 10-1) of the Convention.

It follows that the remainder of the application must also be rejected
as manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27, para. 2
(Art. 27-2) of the Convention.

For these reasons, the Commission


Secrtary to the Commission                 President to the Commission

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