Bulgaria

Every Parent's Nightmare By Belinda Hawkins Allen & Unwin, 2013 www.everyparentsnightmare.com Jock Palfreeman, an Australian man sentenced to 20 years in jail in Bulgaria for murder in a deeply flawed trial, had his request to be transferred to an Australian jail turned down on July 10. Belinda Hawkins' book, Every Parent's Nightmare, brings to life the tragic story of Palfreeman, whose fearless commitment to human rights led to a 20-year sentence in Bulgaria.
Bulgarians voted for a new parliament on May 9, two months ahead of schedule. It came after mass protests against poverty and economic disadvantage forced the centre-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) government to resign. The elections, however, reflected a polarised political landscape and one devoid of left forces. GERB received most votes with 30.71% (97 seats). The second-largest party, the Bulgarian Socialist Party won 27.02% (84 seats). The 2005-09 BSP government was marked by neoliberal policies and corruption scandals.
“I’m in Villawood!” Jock Palfreeman exclaimed, with the cheerful exuberance he displayed throughout an interview conducted through glass and wire-mesh partitions in the gloomy surroundings of the visiting room of Sofia central prison. He told Green Left Weekly that it was the plight of refugees detained in Sydney's Villawood detention centre that first radicalised him. His first protest, as a high school student in Sydney, was a blockade of the offices of Villawood’s then operator Australasian Correctional Management on May Day in 2002.
Quebec’s student movement has claimed a victory with the toppling of the right-wing Liberal government in the September 4 election. The opposition Parti Quebecois (PQ) looks set to form government, winning the most seats ahead of the right-wing Liberal Party who had governed for the past nine years. Quebec's largest pro-independence party, the PQ has, in government, also implemented neoliberal policies.
UPDATE: A rally for Jock Palfreeman will take place in London from 11am on March 15, outside the Bulgarian embassy. For more details visit the Facebook event page Jock Palfreeman Solidarity Demo In December 2009, then 23-year-old Australian Jock Palfreeman was sentenced to 20 years for murder in Sofia, Bulgaria. Two years earlier he had been involved in a fight against a gang of about 15 men, one of who died of a stab wound.
Family, friends and justice supporters rallied on October 16 in support of Jock Palfreeman, a 23-year-old Australian jailed in Bulgaria, whose appeal started on October 21. Palfreeman was convicted of premeditated murder for an incident in 2007. But he says he was acting in self defence when he ran to the aid of two Roma men being attacked by 16 men. During the ensuing conflict, two of the attackers suffered stab wounds, and one died. Palfreeman was sentenced to 20 years’ jail and fined $375,000, despite eyewitness accounts supporting his account and key CCTV footage going missing.
In December 2009, a Bulgarian court convicted 23-year-old Australian Jock Palfreeman of the murder of 20-year-old Bulgarian man Andrey Monov, who died of a knife wound. Palfreeman was sentenced to 20 years in jail. This resulted from an incident in December 2007 in which Palfreeman, according to his own account, came to the aid of two men of the minority Roma community who were being attacked by a gang of 16 men. Palfreeman was denied bail and spent nearly two years in jail before finally being sentenced.

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