Jock Palfreeman

A rally in support of Jock Palfreeman in Melbourne on October 19.

Supporters of recently paroled Australian activist Jock Palfreeman gathered in Melbourne on October 13 to demand the government step up pressure on Bulgaria to allow him to return home.

Australian anti-fascist campaigner Jock Palfreeman’s parole is being challenged by Bulgarian authorities and his lawyer has said he urgently needs to leave the country.

Anti-fascist activist Jock Palfreeman was denied parole on July 17 on his 20-year prison sentence for murder in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Jock Palfreeman is a 30-year-old Australian man wrongly jailed for the murder of a neo-Nazi in Bulgaria in 2007. Palfreeman came to the assistance of a Roma man being assaulted by a gang of fascist football hooligans. During the ensuing fight, one of the attackers was fatally stabbed.

The dead youth came from a family with powerful political connections. Despite serious weaknesses in the case against him, Palfreeman was sentenced to 20 years in jail.

The Bulgarian Prisoners Rights Association (BPRA) has made progress in its attempts to bring due process into Bulgaria's parole laws. Founded in 2012, the BPRA has been represented on a Ministry of Justice working group on prison reform since May. Their representative is Valio Ivanov, who was released from Sofia Central Prison in February after serving 22 years — 20 in solitary confinement. Ivanov succeeded in getting the working group to recommend changes in parole laws, BPRA chairperson Jock Palfreeman told Green Left Weekly.
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.
Jock Palfreeman is serving a 20-year sentence for murder in Sofia Central Prison, Bulgaria. His conviction followed a trumped-up trial in a dysfunctional state where the local gangsters known as mutri hold sway, and hatred of Roma is a national pastime for many. Palfreeman was alleged to have killed Andrei Monov in Sofia in December 2007 while trying to defend two Roma men. Monov was the son of a Bulgarian MP who wants Jock to spend the rest of his life in jail.
In a different world — in a better world — Jock Palfreeman would not be in a jail serving a 20-year sentence. Instead he'd be awarded a medal for great courage, principle and instinctive support for victims of racist violence. He would not be locked away in a jail in Bulgaria. He’d be toured around as an example of the sort of person we should all aspire to be. One who stands up for the underdog, who refuses to tolerate oppression and injustice.
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