Australian man Jock Palfreeman was assaulted by a guard at Sofia’s Central Prison in Bulgaria on July 8.
Palfreeman has been serving a 20-year in the prison since being found guilty of murder in 2007.
Andrei Monov was killed during a street brawl in Sofia, Bulgaria’s capital. He was the only son of two well-connected people in the Sofia legal fraternity.
Palfreeman says he went to the defence of a young Roma boy who was being attacked in the street by Monov and others. When Palfreeman intervened, he was also attacked and acted in self-defence.
However, the prosecutor claimed it was an act of cold-blooded murder and the defence was not allowed to show key evidence. Palfreeman’s appeals have since been refused.
Palfreeman is organising for prisoners' rights inside the prison, activities that annoy the prison authorities.
Palfreeman’s family and supporters are trying to have him moved to Australia to serve his sentence closer to home. Despite international agreements, the Bulgarian government has refused to transfer him until his family pays hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In an interview conducted by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, Palfreeman said he believes he will have to serve his entire sentence in Bulgaria.
“They want to punish me because I believe there is complete protection for the neo-Nazis, for their attacks on racial minorities in the streets of Sofia. They’re all connected with political parties and politicians.
“Police refused to find the Roma [witnesses], they denied there were Roma there even though they had witness statements from at least 10 people saying there were. Even some of the neo-Nazis said the fight began because [they] were fighting with a Roma.
“The police investigator refused to acknowledge that there was [a fight]. Because of this refusal, there was no need for an investigation. So nobody found them, nobody spoke to them. We don’t know anything about this Roma man other than he was their victim in the beginning.
“None of the neo-Nazis were investigated or convicted for their attack on me or the Roma.”
Palfreeman has asked for those concerned about his assault to email the Bulgarian Justice Minister at firstname.lastname@example.org and send a copy to the Australian foreign affairs minister Julie Bishop.