Jock Palfreeman is a 23 year old Australian who, on the 27th of December 2007, had the courage to stand up against 16 Nazis on a night out in Sofia, Bulgaria.
He witnessed the fascists chasing and attacking two young Roma boys. Jock ran to the boys’ aid, he did his best to keep the Nazis at bay by waving a knife at them but they attacked him. (Sofia can be a dangerous place and Jock had only decided to carry a knife after being assaulted in the street on more than one occasion). The Nazis turned on Jock. He was beaten, kicked and hit with rocks. He was sustaining severe injuries and was left with nowhere to run. He had no choice but to defend himself. Andrey Monov (one of the Nazis) received a knife wound whilst beating Jock, he later died. Anton Zahariev (another) was injured. The Roma boys ran away.
Jock has since been tried and sentenced for murder and attempted murder. He has been sentenced to 20 years imprisonment and has been fined £250,000. Jock has spent much of the time he has already served in isolation due to a legal loop hole used by the prison authorities.
Andrey Monovs father is well known in Bulgaria and at Andreys funeral there were a mixture of judges, police and politicians. Jocks trial was (not suprisingly) a complete sham – yet another example of corruption and secret handshakes in the judicial system. The prosecutions case was built on the witness statements made by the other Nazis that were there that night, all claiming that Jock randomly attacked the group and chased them with the intent of killing somebody. Key people and possible witnesses for Jocks defence were never interviewed by police and the CCTV footage from the scene miraculously went missing. Many of the statements made at the time were not the same as the statements submitted to the court by the prosecution.
Jocks statement has remained consistent from the night in question.
The caged hero
On thursday the 21st October 2010 Jocks appeal began.
It was asked that the initial verdict be overturned on the basis that key witnesses and vital evidence were not taken into account during the previous trial (both of which fully support Jocks version of events). The Defence requested a full review of all available forensic evidence and CCTV footage and called for a further review of the high levels of alcohol of Andrey Monov and the rest of the gang.
All of these requests were denied.
However it was also requested that five of the damning witness statements made against Jock that were submitted for the trial, be re-examined, as they were contradictory to the statements made on the night of the incident. Three of the statements were submitted by policemen and the remaining two by Nazis, (one of whom is Zahariev, also one of the civil claimants). These testimonies had a huge effect on Jocks trial, all stating that they knew nothing of any Roma boys or any fight. However, the statements made by the five on the night in question all give specific details about two Roma boys. The court ruled in favour of these statements being re-examined and the five will now be questioned at the next appeal hearing on the 11th of November and will have to explain the discrepancies of their previous testimonies to the court. A small but positive step in the right direction at last.
The Prosecution requested that Jocks’ sentence be increased. The civil claimants (Andrey Monovs family) requested a ‘life sentence without parole’. The case continues to run with both the civil and criminal trials simultaneously.
The appeal hearing continues on the 11th of November, we’ll keep you posted.
What you can do to help
It is now more important than ever that we collectively put as much pressure on the Bulgarian authorities as possible to accept Jocks appeal. If his appeal is accepted and his charges are lowered to ‘excessive use of force during self defence’ then he could be released.
Organise solidarity actions outside Bulgarian Embassies and Consulates etc.
(for a list of the Bulgarian Embassies and Consulates please see, http://www.buldir.com/bulgarian_embassies_abroad.html).
Phone the Bulgarian Embassies and Consulates with your protests.
(please see below for a list of phone numbers).
Help us to bombard the Bulgarian Authorities with letters of protest and requests for Jocks appeal to be accepted.
(please see below for a list of addresses).
If you want us to help promote your events send us the details at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ideally protest letters are best written in your own words BUT we have provided a copy of a sample letter (below) that can be sent if you do not want to write your own. Just copy and paste fom this page and put it into a word document, print it, sign it, and post it, it’s as simple as that. Feel free to reprint it and distribute it to anyone you think may send a copy. If Jocks appeal is accepted it could take anything up to three months for a new sentence to be passed, we have to try and influence their decisions as much as possible throughout his appeal and afterwards. We need to get the pressure up and keep it up.
Addresses to post, fax and email your letters of protest to:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria
Address: 2 Aleksander Zhendov Str
Tel: +359 2 948 2999
Embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria LONDON
186-188 Queen’s Gate
London SW7 5HL
Tel.: (0044) (0) 207 584 9400, (0) 207 584 9433
Fax: (0044) (0) 207 584 4948
Information, Public Relations and European Communication Directorate
Director: Sofia Vladimirova
Tel: +359 2 971 1408. OR +359 2 971 3778. OR +359 2 948 2218.
Fax: +359 2 870 3041
Ministry’s Reception Desk
Tel: +359 2 948 2018 OR +359 2 971 1054
(opening hrs 09.30 – 12.00 and 14.00 – 16.00)
Ministry of Justice
Finally, please write to Jock, even if it’s only a ‘good luck’ postcard. Any letters and postcards help to keep Jock feeling positive and high spirited and all are gratefully received. You can write to Jock at the following address:
Sofia Central Prison,
21 General Stoletov Boulevard,
To whom it may concern,
I am writing to you in regards to Australian National Jock Palfreeman.
Mr. Palfreeman is currently imprisoned in Sofia Central Prison in Bulgaria.
After defending two young innocent boys from a viscous attack by a group of drunken football hooligans, and later being forced to defend himself against the same assailants, he was sentenced to twenty years incarceration under charges of murder and attempted murder.
He is clearly only guilty of causing accidental death while using self defence.
Mr. Palfreeman witnessed the gang (of around 16 men) attacking the two boys and ran to their aid. While trying to keep the gang at bay he suffered a viscous attack and was left with no choice but to defend himself. His version of events has remained consistent since the night in question and is supported by numerous witnesses. All of whom are prepared to testify in his defence.
It has since transpired that at his trial, to my astonishment, key people and possible witnesses were never interviewed by police, the CCTV footage from the scene went missing and many of the statements that were submitted to the court by the prosecution were not the same as the statements made (by the same people) on the night in question.
Anything working in favour of Mr. Palfreemans’ defence was completely disregarded by the judge and the prosecutions case was built on the witness statements made by the football hooligans that initially attacked the two boys, all claiming that Mr. Palfreeman randomly attacked them and chased them with the intent of killing somebody. The trial was a farce!
I ask that the Bulgarian Authorities grant him his appeal, and offer him a fair trial, something that as of yet he has clearly been denied.
Mr. Palfreeman selflessly saved the lives of two young boys, risking his own safety and costing him his own freedom. He should be deemed a hero, not a cold blooded killer!