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

                  MM  C.A. NØRGAARD, President
                      J.A. FROWEIN
                      F. ERMACORA
                      E. BUSUTTIL
                      G. JÖRUNDSSON
                      G. TENEKIDES
                      S. TRECHSEL
                      B. KIERNAN
                      A.S. GÖZÜBÜYÜK
                      A. WEITZEL
                      J.C. SOYER
                      H.G. SCHERMERS
                      H. DANELIUS
                      G. BATLINER
                      J. CAMPINOS
                  Mrs G.H. THUNE
                  Sir Basil HALL
                  Mr  F. MARTINEZ

          Mr H.C. KRÜGER, Secretary to the Commission

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

Having regard to the application introduced on 14 October 1985 by
J.A. against Spain and registered on 10 December 1985 under file No.
11885/85;

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

Having deliberated;

Decides as follows:

THE FACTS

The facts of the case as appearing from the applicant's submissions
may be summarised as follows:

The applicant is a Spanish citizen and at present detained in the
Penal Detention Center of Basauri (Bilbao).  He is represented in the
proceedings before the Commission by Mr. Angel Elias and Mr. Rafael
Sainz de Rozas, lawyers practising in Bilbao.

The applicant is serving a prison sentence since March 1980.

On 2 July 1984, the applicant was notified that charges had been
brought against him by a prison officer.  The applicant was accused of
having made insulting comments to him and of having shown insufficient
respect due to a prison officer.  The applicant denied having insulted
the prison officer and requested a hearing before the Administrative
Board (Junta de Régimen y Administracion) according to the Prison
Rules.

On 7 July the applicant asked to be assisted by his counsel in the
hearing before the Board, scheduled for 10 July.  Nevertheless, when
the applicant appeared before the Board he was informed that the
presence of counsel had not been authorised.  A similar request was
subsequently refused.  Then, the applicant protested and failed to
present any defence as long as his counsel was not permitted to
accompany him.

On 10 July 1984, as a disciplinary sanction for the alleged behaviour,
the Board punished the applicant by imposing on him solitary
confinement over three weekends, in accordance with Rule 109-a and
Rule 111-b of the Prison Rules.

The applicant appealed to the Judge of Prison Oversight (Juez de
Vigilancia) claiming that the decision of the Board had left his right
to a defence unprotected, and had disregarded the principle of the
presumption of innocence.

The Judge upheld the Board's decision on 21 August 1984.  In his
decision the Judge stated that the applicant's right to counsel, as
set forth in Article 130 of the Prison Rules, had not been denied
insofar as the right protected in Article 130 is the right to be
advised by counsel and not the right to be represented.

The applicant then appealed to the Constitutional Court (recurso de
amparo), alleging violation of Article 24 (right to a fair trial and
to the presumption of innocence) of the Spanish Constitution.
Simultaneously, the applicant sought a stay of execution of the
disciplinary sanction, which the Court granted on 16 January 1985.
Nevertheless, the sanction had already been carried out by order of
the prison administration.

On 18 June 1985, the Constitutional Court dismissed the appeal insofar
as it concerns the constitutional issues under Article 24 of the
Constitution.  The Court did not enter into an examination of the
other complaints raised after the introduction of the appeal because
its jurisdiction is limited to those issues presented when the appeal
is introduced, according to Article 49 of the Law (Ley Organica del
Tribunal Constitucional).

In its decision the Court, pointing out that the applicant was
subjected to the prison administration as regards the imposition of
disciplinary sanctions, stated that his failure to present any
evidence in  his own defence was imputable to him alone, and was not a
failure of judicial protection.  In effect, according the procedure
established in Article 130-1 of the Prison Rules, the applicant could
have been advised by counsel and could have either answered the
charges in writing, at which time he could have taken advantage of his
counsel's technical assistance, or answered them orally during his
hearing before the Board.

Moreover, the Court pointed out that the Oversight Judge reviewed the
Administrative Board's decision, and this procedure satisfies the
applicant's right to an effective legal protection.

COMPLAINTS

1. The applicant complains first that the disciplinary sanction
of three weekends solitary confinement imposed by the Administrative
Board is a deprivation of liberty within the meaning of
Article 5 para. 1 (art. 5-1) of the Convention.

2. Secondly, the applicant complains that he did not enjoy the
right to a fair trial for the following reasons:

- The Administrative Board is not an independent and impartial
tribunal established by law.

- He was sanctioned for having made insulting comments to a prison
officer and having shown insufficient respect to him without any
evidence other than the officer's report, and the principle of the
presumption of innocence was disregarded in respect of these charges.

- He was deprived of the assistance of legal counsel.

The applicant invokes Article 6 para. 1, para. 2 and para. 3,
sub-para. (c) (art. 6-1, art. 6-2, art. 6-3-c) of the Convention.

3. Lastly, the applicant argues that administrative actions must
conform to legal norms, and invokes Article 7 (art. 7) of the
Convention.

THE LAW

1. The applicant complains first that the disciplinary sanction
of three weekends solitary confinement is a deprivation of liberty
within the meaning of Article 5 para. 1 (art. 5-1) of the Convention.

The Commission notes in this respect that the Constitutional Court
dismissed the applicant's appeal insofar as it concerns the
constitutional issues under Article 24 of the Constitution (right to a
fair trial), and did not enter into an examination of the other
complaints raised after the introduction of the appeal.

The Commission considers that it is not necessary to decide whether in
the present case the applicant has exhausted domestic remedies, in
accordance with Article 26 (art. 26) of the Convention, because it
finds this part of the application in any case inadmissible.

The Commission recalls that the disciplinary arrest imposed on a
prisoner who is serving a sentence cannot be considered as
constituting a deprivation of liberty, because such measures are only
modifications of the conditions of lawful detention (see No. 7754/77,
Dec. 9.5.77, D.R. 11 pp. 216, 217).

It follows that this part of the application must be rejected as being
incompatible ratione materiae with the Convention, within the meaning
of Article 27 para. 2 (art. 27-2) of the Convention.

2. The applicant alleges secondly that he did not enjoy the right to a
fair trial by an independent and impartial tribunal.  He claims that
the principle of the presumption of innocence was disregarded in
respect of the charges brought against him, and that he was deprived
of the assistance of legal counsel.  He invokes Article 6 para. 1,
para. 2 and para. 3 (c) (art. 6-1, art. 6-2, art. 6-3-c) of the Convention.

The Commission has first considered whether Article 6 (art. 6) was
applicable to the proceedings in question.  It recalls that in the
case of Engel and others the European Court of Human Rights held that
States were permitted under the Convention to establish a distinction
between criminal and disciplinary law, but that the Court had
jurisdiction under Article 6 (art. 6) to satisfy itself that the
disciplinary did not improperly encroach upon the criminal
(see Eur. Court H.R. Engel and others case, judgment of 8 June 1976,
para. 81). The Court enumerated three criteria which may determine
whether a disciplinary charge is, in fact, of a criminal nature.  They
were as follows:

1. "whether the provisions defining the offence charged belong,
according to the legal system of the respondent State, to criminal
law, disciplinary law or both currently";

2. "the very nature of the offence";

3. "the degree of severity of the penalty which the person concerned
risks incurring" (ibid. para. 82).

The Commission further recalls that these criteria are also applicable
for the purpose of determining whether a prison disciplinary charge
falls within the "criminal" sphere (see No. 6224/73, Dec. 16.12.76,
D.R. 7 pp. 55, 63).

In the present case, the applicant was accused of having made
insulting comments to a prison officer and shown insufficient respect
due to him.  This offence came within provisions of disciplinary law,
namely Rule 109-a of the Prison Rules.

As regards the nature of the offence, the Commission observes that it
was disciplinary in character insofar as it involved the violation of
legal rules governing the operation of the prison.

Consequently it is only the degree of severity of the penalty which
might be considered as necessitating the application of Article 6
(art. 6). However, contrary to the Engel case, the penalty imposed on
the applicant did not constitute a deprivation of liberty, and was
therefore not of a particularly severe nature.

The Commission concludes that Article 6 (art. 6) of the Convention
does not apply to the disciplinary proceedings in question.  It
follows that this part of the application is incompatible ratione
materiae with the Convention, within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2
(art. 27-2) of the Convention.

3. Lastly, the applicant argues that administrative actions must
conform to legal norms, and invokes Article 7 (art. 7) of the
Convention.

This provision, which is mainly intended to prohibit retrospective
application of criminal law, is not applicable in this case insofar as
the disciplinary proceedings in question do not involve a criminal
charge, and thus cannot be considered to fall under Article 7 (art. 7).

It follows that the application is, in this respect, incompatible
ratione materiae with the provisions of the Convention within the
meaning of Article 27 para. 2 (art. 27-2).

For these reasons, the Commission

DECLARES THE APPLICATION INADMISSIBLE.

Secretary to the Commission         President of the Commission

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