Background and update on the situation and case of Jock Palfreeman

Jock Palfreeman, an Australian that started his travels around Europe in early 2006 at the age of 21, has visited numerous countries and stayed in a small town an hour drive from Bulgaria's capital Sofia. He was living and working there with his friends. After travelling to the UK, he visited friends in Bulgaria in the end of December 2007.

On a night out with his friends that December he witnessed a group of 16 football hooligans with undoubted neo-nazi tendencies attack 2 Roma (gypsy) boys, for which he stood up. He tried to keep them away by waving a knife at them, but they attacked him anyways. With no way to escape in self defence he fought against his attackers. In the fight one person of the attackers died - Andrei Monov - and another was injured.

The deceased turned out to be from a well known Bulgarian family with political connections and after 2 long years of suspicious trial with a clear political flavour Jock is found guilty and is sentenced for murder and attempted murder to 20 years inprisonment and a 375 000 Australian dollars fine.

The case was built only on the statements taken from the nazis, who claimed that Jock randomly attacked the group, chasing them with an intent to kill someone, while key witnesses and other possible witnesses were never interviewed and the CCTV footage from the scene mysteriously went missing.

After numerous requests were put forward by the defence only one was accepted and this was to re-question 5 witnesses to explain why they at first stated that the fight between the group and the Roma boys actually happend, but then denied ever having said this.

Despite the court's acceptence of the fight between the group and Roma boys the Appeal court upheld the original sentence.

Due to Jock's activist work as chairman of the Bulgarian Prisoner's Association, helping fellow prisoners and giving legal advices, the Director of the Central Sofia Prison had ordered punishment measure which doesn't allow Jock to finish his studies, which is very important to him.

In his case he cannot study at a foreign university, but only in a Bulgarian one. But if he wants to study in a Bulgarian university he cannot do this from prison, so he is not allowed to finish his studies.

From the 13th of January 2013 Jock was on a hunger strike, not allowed to see a doctor, which was another repressive measure by the prison authorities. After 30 days of drinking only watery drinks and losing 20 kg, he got an legal answer, that allows him to apply in the court against the decision, Jock ended his hunger strike and will continue his protest by legal ways.

Over a year ago his family filed a request for Jock's transfer to an Australian prison, which could only happen if Jock's friends and family pay the price that the Bulgarian court ordered to pay in compensation to his victims and their families, which is around 375,000 Australian dollars.

As the family has agreed to pay all the fines in the end of May, Australian officials visited the Bulgarian Prosecutor General and the Sofia Prison Director to hand deliver the formal request for Jock’s transfer to Australia to serve the rest of his sentence.

Without informing the Australian Government the Bulgarian Prosecutor General annouced in the media that he would not approve of the transfer, for 2 reasons, one being that Jock has not spent enough time in bulgarian prison and two, that Jock has behaved badly.

Andrei Monov's father is an influental politician and he stated that if elected to parliament, he would do everything to prevent Jock's transfer to Australia. Mr. Monov was recently elected a member of Parliament in the ruling party.


Jock Palfreeman
Sofia Central Prison,
21 General Stoletov Boulevard,
Sofia 1309,