The applicant, Mr. Velev, was detained on remand. As he had not finished his secondary education, therefore he requested to be enrolled in the school operating inside the prison. He was denied that possibility because if convicted he would be a recidivist and should therefore be kept apart from non-recidivist prisoners. The school was also not available to remand prisoners.
Mr. Velev complained that he was denied access to the prison school violated his rights under of Article 2 of Protocol 1 of the Convention.
The Court emphasized that prisoners in general continue to enjoy all the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Convention save for the right to liberty. It continued that Article 2 of Protocol 1 of the Convention cannot be interpreted as imposing an obligation to organize educational facilities for prisoners where such facilities are not already in place. However, where such facilities have been established, the state must ensure effective access to them. The right to education may be restricted, but in order to ensure that the restrictions that are imposed do not curtail the right in question to such an extent as to impair its very essence and deprive it of its effectiveness, the Court had to satisfy itself that they are foreseeable for those concerned and pursue a legitimate aim. In the particular case the Court agreed that the access to the educational facilities and establishments may depend on the financial resources available to the state, however the Government had not argued lack of resources as the reason to accept only prisoners with longer sentences in the school. The state also did not provide any legal or other practical reasons justifying why Mr. Velev should not be accepted in the prison school. Therefore the Court found a violation of Article 2 of Protocol 1 of the Convention.