General Request For Donations To The "Valio Fund"
I am typing a letter to you all as my hand hurts from hand writing so much and quite frankly no one can read my writing (including myself) so please excuse the non-personalised nature of this letter.
The Bulgarian Prisoners’ Association BPRA (officially) was in May 2015 invited to the Ministry of Justice Workgroup on penitentiary reforms. That means that the BPRA has an equal say and vote with all the other members of the Workgroup who are comprised of judges, prosecutors and prison head who are representing their respective institutions.
It stands to reason that the BPRA didn’t have confidence in the system reforming itself even if it wanted to. The judges and prosecutors are on the outside and have absolutely no comprehension of the problems facing Bulgarian prisons and the prison administrations are blatantly opposed to reforms!
Originally the BPRA wasn’t invited to the Workgroup, so we organised a mass petition of about 300 prisoners from around prisons and submitted it to both the Ministry of Justice and the Committee for the Prevention of Torture who is monitoring the reform process. In the petition we explained that without the BPRA to voice the prisoners’ concerns the reform Workgroup was set up to fail. Gathering signatures is extremely difficult in Bulgarian prisons as usually the prison authority will call every single prisoner who has signed a petition and threaten and punish them. The organisers are of course targeted for the worse treatment to act as a deterrent to others. As usually one of our petitions was stolen by a guard but to the credit of the new prison director the petition was later returned. But really this time it was not so difficult to get so many signatures as prisoners were simply put, fed up with everything. The level of violence from guards and corruption from the prison administrations had hit an all time high in 2014 to the point where the prisons were stopping drinking, washing and toilet water (all water) during the hot summer nights creating a pandemic not to mention unbearable conditions in the heat.
The Ministry recognized the difficulties in gathering the signatures and so invited the BPRA to propose a representative. Lucky for us an extremely knowledgeable prisoner had just been granted a Presidential pardon in March! Valentine Ivanov (Valio) had served 22 years prison on a life sentence. For 20 of those years he served in complete isolation where prisoners are alone for 22.5 hours a day, with no work, sport, education or activities. But Valio didn’t waste his time in prison and instead he self educated himself on all laws, regulations and procedures relating to Bulgarian prison institutions, as well as a general understanding of most Bulgarian laws. It would be easy to say that he is the single most knowledgeable person in Bulgaria on laws relating to prisons without any formal education.
We would very much like to employ Valio fulltime and although he deserves more, we are being realistic and Valio has agreed to work for the same pay as his labouring job, 12€ a day. Also we can not employ Valio until we are sure that we can guarantee a full years pay, as jobs are hard to find in Bulgaria (not to mention for ex prisoners) and so it wouldn’t be fair to have Valio quit his labouring job only to be made redundant in his work for the BPRA. This means the BPRA needs to raise the following amounts:
6000 leva for Valio’s pay
2400 leva for taxes, pension and health insurance
Roughly it comes to 4307€ in total.
We have raised 500€ already from XminY whose mission statement reads as follows
“XminY believes in the power of people to be the start of change themselves. Every great social transformation starts with brave individuals who take the first steps along the road to change. These are ordinary people who stand up in their communities, encourage bystanders and work together with them in the struggle for a fair, just, sustainable and tolerant world.”
Although this is XminY’s statement I think it is an absolutely appropriate description of the BPRA! So thanx XminY for giving us a good start on the “Valio Fund”. Also XminY said that if we wanted we could display their logo on the project we used their money for. In this respect I think it is only fair that we tattoo Valio’s face with the XminY logo! Failing to tattoo Valio’s face we will think of an alternative J
So I’ve asked in the past for donations and we raised over 6000€! In one year! So thank you to all of you receiving this letter who already donated something! Most of the money we spent was used contracting lawyers to defend the human rights of asylum seekers and prisoners. Some illegally detained and others tortured by guards. Without the BPRA these prisoners (I consider those detained for immigration reasons also prisoners) would not have had legal representation and some would still be illegally held in prisons or continuously beaten and intimidated to stay quiet about torture. When the state knows there is a lawyer in your corner the stakes change.
However now I am putting out a call! Before the money we raised was used as we needed it and so there wasn’t really an urgency. However now we have a set specific goal and target that we need to meet relatively soon so that we can free Valio from his job so that he can work for us fulltime to have a maximum impact on the penitentiary reforms currently in the Ministry that will then be submitted to parliament for consideration.
Please do whatever you can to collect money for us, fundraisers, gigs or even just a whip around the with magic hat! J
Our bank details are:
Donation for Bulgarian Prisoners' Rehabilitation Association
Saint George Office
26 Alexander Stamboliski Boulevard
IBAN: BG29 Texi 95451003928100
BIC: Texi BGSF
(Please note the “TEXI” is the letter ‘i’ not the number ‘1')
Please check out our facebook page, just do a search on facebook for Bulgarian Prisoners’ Association and it is easy to find. We are working on getting a proper website but it is proving to be logistically difficult for us prisoners with basically 1 volunteer in Sofia who knows something about computers and web design! So you can also contact us for the moment through the facebook page.
Alternatively (but not preferably) you can email at:
There is also our blog: https://bulgarianprisonersassociation.wordpress.com/
If you have upcoming actions planned, please spare a thought for our fund raising goal and ask those around you to contribute or to organise a way of raising money.
We are a legally registered NGO and as such we are officially reformist.
We have already effected extremely important changes in the draft laws, especially in regards to the reform of the parole system. It is on the back of this success that we need to increase our input into the legislative changes.
I have not spoken much about who we are here, because there is already enough information online. But in short we are a registered NGO Association of ONLY current and ex-prisoner. The idea being that without interference from people who are not or have not been prisoners our goals or means of achieving them will not be distorted by outside interference from people who could have alternative or contradictory ideas. This means that the BPRA couldn’t get more grassroots if it tried to.
Our two main goals are:
1. Effect legislative reforms
2. Defend the rights of prisoners
The BPRA is the first of its kind in Bulgaria and possibly the world, as although there are prisoners’ organisations they are as far as I know not registered organisations and/or they’re mixed with non-prisoner members.
We want the BPRA to be of such a scale that whenever a prisoner is tortured, the prisoner will be able to contact the BPRA who will send inspectors and lawyers immediately. For too long the guards and administrations in Bulgarian prisons had free reign to torture and torment who they wanted to. This is slowly changing as the BPRA grows in confidence and experience (and funds for legal defence) and the prison administrations are starting to realise that they can no longer target prisoners who are too poor to afford lawyers.
Not race, financial status or education will be green lights to guards and administrations to target prisoners for abuse as the BPRA will have their backs! In this regard it is true that those who are openly members of the BPRA and who are openly active and supporting the BPRA have been targeted for their solidarity actions. But there is rarely significant social progress without significant risk and we regularly risk our physical health/life as well as our possibilities for freedom.
Please people, help us help ourselves! And help us reach our target budget.
Bulgarian Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Association
Valio is currently volunteering his time as the BPRA representative to the Workgroup and at information meetings and public forums on penitentiary reforms and helping prisoners with legal aid. But in order to put bread on the table Valio obviously must work a paying job. Currently he is labouring for 12€ a day (a work day can be 12 hours as there is little to no workers’ rights) and the problem with that is that the BPRA really needs Valio to work on penitentiary reforms fulltime. The reforms needed are so comprehensive that the workload is overwhelming for people who are working on them fulltime, let alone for someone fitting the reform work around a labouring job.
Red & Black BPRA Bandana
New Bulgarian Prisoners' Association fundraiser red & black bandana is available from us for £5 p+p - all profits to the BPRA.
Email us at: email@example.com for details
New Downloadable Jock Palfreeman Poster
Click on the image to download a poster pdf
A Visit To See Jock
A visit to see Jock Palfreeman at Sofia Central Prison usually means the normal bureaucracy i.e. waiting 2-3 hours, body searches and food stuff weighed, checked and an item or two confiscated. Once inside visiting is conducted on a telephone through a glass and wire barrier and only lasts 45 minute.
Summer 2014 was a little different. We turned up to the prison early morning with usual bags of food, as prisoners diets have to be supplemented due to lack of nutrition in the prison’s food. After giving our passports in at admin we sat down for the usual long wait. A moment later a couple jumped out of chauffeur driven car and walked into the reception. Noticing that they looked a little uncertain about the procedure and also releasing pretty quickly that they were Australian and also visiting Jock we went to help.
The couple introduced themselves as Rachel and Bryan, we only released a little later that they were the both famous actors. Rachel Ward is famous for the Thorn Birds, a 1980’s TV series that was massive in Bulgaria, and Bryan Brown from such Hollywood movies as Cocktail and Australia. Within moments we were having our food checked in and waltzed through the prison gates like heads of state and into the governor’s office, all the time with an English/Bulgaria interpreter. We were introduced to the governor, who seemed to be very excited! Photographs were taken, not of us obviously. Coffee, drinks and biscuits were brought in! We were out of our comfort zone!
Within 10 minutes the governor left and Jock came in. He looked a little taken back for a moment, hugs and handshakes were exchanged. We sat down and Jock explained his position about being banged up for the next 20 years. Both actors explained that they wanted to use their influence both in Bulgaria and Australia to get Jock back to Australia to serve his sentence. Rachel Ward asked on several occasions if there was anything she could do to help, on one occasion Jock said, ‘Have you got a helicopter’. Rachel Ward was appearing on a Bulgaria TV show the next day and said she was going mention his case. Jock advised her against this as Jock doesn’t have the best reputation in Bulgaria due to the bias way the incident was reported in the Bulgaria media. Both seemed genuinely concerned for Jock’s situation. Bryan saying on the way out that he would use his influence to see what he could do.
The visit lasted 2 hours and Jock did most of the talking as he is always at pains to explain his situation clearly. The whole visit was a very different experience for us and it was good to see Jock in person without barriers. Who knows maybe next time Tom Cruise will visit?
Continued Assaults on Asylum Seekers in Sofia Central Prison
On the 06/07/14 at 8.30am the guard Peter Petrov performed the morning roll call, he entered 11 cell and started shouting in Bulgarian, a language no one present understood. As the roll call finished for that cell he then started to assault a mentally ill man from behind as he was not moving fast enough. The mentally ill man is about 45kgs, about 55 years old and a citizen of Comoros. He then retaliated and slapped the guard back after the guard Peter Petrov hit him and kicked him again, the guard came at the Comoros Islander again and the African took a chair to keep the guard away from him. 3 other guards came and only saw the Comoros islander with the chair and so they beat him too. Peter Petrov then ran out of the cell, locked all the cell doors and called for "assistance". Forty guards came from two work shifts, from the Saturday evening shift and the incoming Sunday day shift, as now shifts are 12 hours. The forty guards summarily beat everyone in the cell - the man from Comoros, 4 Afghanis, 1 Pakistani, 1 Dutch man and an Algerian. They were not resisting in any way and most of the wounds inflicted by the guards are on their backs as they tried to cover their faces on the ground.
The man from Comoros was most badly beaten, with a cut face, bleeding eye, bleeding nose, cut lips and swollen and cuts and swelling to his head. All over his body was covered in welts from the batons. The Pakistani too had welts and pink bruises as did the others in perfect shapes of batons, the Pakistani received a cut head and several of the Afghanis, apart from the welts on their backs and forearms, they had black and bleeding eyes. The seven men were beaten with batons, boots, they were stomped, hit and hit into walls and the ground.
The beating continued for about 20-30 minutes. The guards then indiscriminately started to break
furniture used by prisoners for playing cards in the corridor.
After the bulk of the guards left, the guards called the prisoners Hisham Karmo and Budimir Kjovic, a Syrian national and a Serbian national. Together with the guards they wrote witness statements or "explanations" for the victims and intimidated the victims to sign the statements. The victims were told if they complained they would get extra prison sentences and that the guards would beat them again. In these "witness statements" written by Hisham and Budimir, it states that the Comoros man attacked the guard unprovoked and the guard had to defend himself. A deal was struck between
the Hisham and Budimir and the guard Peter Petrov and the rest of the guards that this would be the official version that Hisham and Budimir would testify to but also help maintain through intimidation of victims, Only the man from Comoros was allowed to see a doctor. As the official version of events did not include the other seven victims as having been assaulted they were not permitted to see a doctor for the entirety of Sunday. At 8.30pm the guards changed shifts and again the new guards would not allow the other 6 victims to see the duty doctor. On the same day as the assault the victims came to me (Jock Palfreeman) as the chairman of the Bulgarian Prisoners' Association and as a known human rights activist and asked me for help. I immediately called the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee to inform their chairman Krassimir Kanev of the assault and he supplied valuable legal advice as to how to proceed.
With prisoners acting as translators the victims wrote real statements testifying the details of the assault free of intimidation by the prison's auxiliary bullies. we brought many prisoners together and discussed how to proceed, many prisoners supported the victims and we promised to support the victims if any prisoner working for the prison administration tried to intimidate them or use physical violence to silence them.
On 07/07/14 (the next day) members of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee came to meet with the victims, they took their statements and conveyed an official complaint to the prosecutor's office. The members of the Helsinki Committee then personally escorted the victims to the prison infirmary and supervised as medical injury reports were written, although copies of said medical reports were not made or given to the victims or their representatives. The evening of the 07/07/14 the guard Peter Petrov was returned to work in 10th continue his attempt to intimidate me, Jock Palfreeman, as he had been informed of my complaint against him the previous Wednesday (02/07/14) after he assaulted me by kicking me with his boots, hitting me with a large metal key, pushing and pulling me in an attempt to provoke physical confrontation. However I did not react as the man from Comoros did, had I, I would have suffered the same fate as the other victims. I realised that this guard is highly violent and dangerous.
Whether it was his character or he was a racist or he was drunk or on drugs no one could say but I realised after he assaulted me on two separate occasions that the assaults would continue and only get worse. So on 03/07/14 I sent a complaint to the Director of the prison Peter Krester and a request to have this violent and dangerous guard moved from our block.
No measures were taken and the guard Peter Petrov 4 days later subsequently attacked the man from Comoros and instigated the mass assault on the other seven victims.
I, Jock Palfreeman, have now again become a target of Peter Petrov, the guard and as of the date of writing this, 09/07/14, the prison authorities have failed to take any measures to prevent the guards from assaulting prisoners or to protect me or the other 8 victims.
The assault on the 8 men was extremely vicious and so I started the explanations from that point as opposed to the first assaults upon myself.
On the 10/07/14 (Thursday), the guard Peter Petrov was moved to a different part of the prison.
On 14/07/14 representatives from the Ombudsman's office entered the prison to conduct an investigation into the mass assault, they met with the victims and witnesses and briefly with myself.
On 16/07/14 the vice-minister of justice, responsible specifically for the running of prisons met with the victims of the mass assault. Although there are concerns about the Vice-Minister's personal connections with Budimir Kjovic who was also called to the meeting as a friend of the Vice-Minister of Justice.
On 17/07/14 the state prosecutor met with the victims to collect their statements from them personally.
The continued pressure and intimidation from the prisoners Budimir Kjovic and Hisham Karmo upon the victims to give false testimonies is a continuing concern, not to mention their attempt to also intimidate me into not showing solidarity to the victims. It just another example of mafia criminals working with the state apparatus of oppression. The prison allows these bullies to continue their drug businesses within the prison, the prison staff take a cut and in exchange it is in their interest to protect the prison administration and guards as they provide the protection for their business.
Earlier this year a Director Yosofifov, director of work and pay of Sofia Central Prison was arrested along with the friend of Budimir Kjovic for trafficking contraband into the prison, earlier this month the director Yosofifov was formally fired for violating the ethics code.
There can never be any compromise with violators of human rights and mafia!
When injustice becomes law
Resistance becomes duty
Chairman, Bulgarian Prisoners' Rehabilitation Association
Call For International Solidarity With Anti-fascist Jock Palfreeman
A few days ago Australian anti-fascist Jock Palfreeman was assaulted in Sofia Central Prison in Bulgaria (he says it was not "too badly") but yesterday [July 6] the same guard assaulted another prisoner, an elderly man, and some of that man's compatriots came to his assistance. These seven were then set upon by 40 guards, who brutally beat them.
Jock, in his role of secretary of the Bulgarian Prisoners Association, phoned a number of lawyers to help defend those assaulted. Now Jock has been threatened by the same prison guard has threatened him with another beating.
It is no surprise that not only Jock's role within the prison with the Bulgarian Prisoners Association but also because of the various days of action for Jock being organised around the globe to highlight his case. You can contact the Bulgarian prison authorities or organise a protest at your nearest Bulgarian embassy or consulate.
Twenty-one-year old Australian Jock Palfreeman started his travels around Europe in early 2006. Having visited numerous countries and stayed in a small town an hour drive from Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia, living and working with his friends, he returned to visit them at the end of December 2007 after traveling to the UK.
On a night out with these friends that December, he witnessed a group of 16 football hooligans associated with various fascist groups attack two Roma (gypsy) boys, and he stepped in to defend them. He tried to keep them away by waving a knife at them, but they attacked him anyway, not only with fists and punches but also by throwing blocks of concrete at him. Jock defended himself with the knife. As a result of the fight, one of the attackers, Andrei Monov, died and another was seriously injured.
The dead man turned out to be from a well known Bulgarian family with political connections and, after 2 long years of procedurally dubious trial with a clear political flavour, Jock was found guilty of murder and attempted murder, and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment and given a 375 000 Australian dollar fine. The case was built solely on the statements taken from the nazis, who claimed that Jock randomly attacked the group, chasing them with the intent to kill someone; whilst key witnesses and other possible witnesses were never interviewed and the CCTV footage from the scene mysteriously went missing.
After numerous petitions submitted to the court by the defence, only one was accepted and this was merely to re-question five of the witnesses to explain why they all had initially stated that the fight between the group and the Roma boys actually taken place, but had then denied ever having said this. Despite the court now accepting that the fight between the group and Roma boys had actually taken place, the Appeal court upheld the original sentence.
It is worth mentioning that despite the Bulgarian authorities trying to portray Jock's assailants as “normal students”, they had been members of, or had connections to, far right groups in Bulgaria. One of these “normal students”, Emil Alexiev, is a member of Bulgarian neo-Nazi group National Resistance and in 2010 had been arrested for taking part in a brutal attack against refugee rights activists on a tram, which left a number of them with very serious injuries.
In prison Jock never surrendered and quickly became a thorn in the side of the authorities, helping fellow prisoners by teaching English and acting as a jailhouse lawyer, as well as highlighting the authorities’ abuses and corruption. Additionally, he founded the Bulgarian Prisoners Association (BPA), the first official organisation to fight for rights of prisoners in Bulgaria.
Due to Jock’s activist work as chairman of the BPA, helping fellow prisoners and giving legal advice, Jock has suffered numerous incidents of repression at the hands of prison authorities, such as frequent cell searches, periods in isolation, beatings, problems with receiving books and access to his studies.
On January 13, 2013, Jock went on hunger strike and, after 30 days of drinking only watery drinks and losing 20 kg, he managed finally to get an official answer to the various requests that he had submitted to the prison authorities in connection with his mistreatment, and which had all been ignored, and he continues fighting his corner by the legal means open to him.
Over a year ago the Australian government sent a request for Jock’s transfer to an Australian prison, which can only happen if Jock’s friends and family pay the price that the Bulgarian court ordered to be paid in compensation to his victims and their families. Jock has therefore been forced to conclude that he is currently being held for ransom by the Bulgarians judicial system.
Jock’s family is currently collecting the necessary funds and you can donate by visiting:
You can visit BPA website at: https://bulgarianprisonersassociation.wordpress.com/
Freedom For Jock Palfreeman FB group: www.facebook.com/groups/123586691003205/
some archive info on support actions, jock's letters etc: http://anarchistsolidarity.wordpress.com/category/jock-palfreeman/
good mainstream book about Jock by Belinda Hawkins: http://everyparentsnightmare.com/
At the same time we need to keep spreading information about Jock's case as wide as possible and we need to show Jock our solidarity, so he knows he is not alone and authorities know it as well.
You can write to Jock at:
Sofia Central Prison,
21 General Stoletov Boulevard,
Sofia 1309, BULGARIA
Solidarity Letter From Joel Almgren*
Instead of commenting on the fairy tales that the tabloids have written about me the last time I would like to take the opportunity to make you aware of something else.
Jock Palfreeman is an Australian citizen who is doing time in a prison in Bulgaria, sentenced for to 20 years for murder in defence of two Roma boys from a group of nazi Levski supporters. In Sweden one normally gets parole after having served 2/3 of your sentence, but this is not the reality in Bulgaria where you serve the entire sentence. Let us say that in Sweden you attack a demonstration with everyone from children in baby strollers to oldies with walking frames. For that you get a sentence of 6 months, which in Sweden means that you are free in 4 months [Joel here refers to the Nazi attack in Kärrtorp, were the Nazis got a 6 months sentences each, the leader of neo-Nazi Swedish Resistance Movement (Svenska Motståndsrörelsen) in Stockholm got a 8 month sentence]. But, if in Bulgaria you help two children when they are being attacked by a group of Nazis, you get instead a sentence of 20 years, you also serve all that time in prison.
Inside the Sofia Central Prison, I have started Bulgaria's first prison union - the Bulgarian Prisoners' Association. The prison union helps the prisoners financially as well as helping to fill in forms and to write appeals. This is because 80% of the prisoners in the prison cannot read or write, and many of them do not have any economic resources. That means if you are put in isolation or get beaten up by the prison guards, you are not able to report it or have enough money to hire an attorney. Additionally, in Bulgaria, as in many other places in Europe, in addition to the people who have been found guilty of crimes who are put in prison, those who have been forced to flee wars in the home countries, becoming clandestine migrants, are locked up in prison too and have even fewer resources than the Bulgarian prisoners.
[*Swedish anti-fascist currently on remand for defending an anti-racist demonstration in Kärrtorp, near Stockholm, from a vicious attack by the neo-Nazi group Swedish National Resistance.]
[by letter 24/06/14]
Bulgaria Refuse Jock Palfreeman's Transfer To Australia
On the 09/07/2013 the Head Prosecutor of Bulgaria rejected Australia’s request to transfer me to serve my sentence in Australia. His excuses can be summarised into 3 major points, 1. Bad prison conduct 2. Not served enough time of the full sentence and 3. Until now the goals of the sentence have not been fulfilled.
In reply I say:
I have had only 1 disciplinary punishment in the last 3 years and it’ll be difficult to find a prisoner with less then that amount of disciplinary punishments in a Bulgarian prison, furthermore the single disciplinary punishment I have over the last 3 years is for refusing to speak to the Director of the Sofia Prison. Yes….. I was punished by having my food reduced for 3 months, for refusing to speak to the Director.
What does it matter how much of my sentence I have served, the request from Australia was to be transferred to finish my sentence in Australian prison. This second point of the Head Prosecutor is reflective of their belief that in Australia I will be released as so many wrongly convicted in corrupt countries are when they are returned to their home countries. Australia has explicitly said they will not release me if transferred to Australia; however it is in the mind of the Head Prosecutor, that my case has become the shame of the Bulgarian state. Only in his world I am still guilty, but in no one else’s.
What are these goals that the Head Prosecutor speaks of? I have not been informed of any such goals, I was told and am told almost daily by Sofia Prison staff that I am simply to sit on my bed and finish my sentence in prison. Are these the goals that have not been achieved? If he could, as publicly as he rejected transfer, to publicly explain to everyone what these goals are and how they have not been accomplished? And how he expects them to be accomplished if no one knows what they are?
The Head Prosecutor of Bulgaria has exited the world of law and entered the world of metaphysics. Nothing the Head Prosecutor said was based on law other then his right to deny transfer. The reasons for such a denial have no connection with law or reality and almost everyone who has read the prosecutor’s decision burst out laughing at the audacity of such bold lies.
As so much of Bulgarian society are entering the streets to vent their frustration with such an inherently corrupt state, I remind the Bulgarian people and others, that I too am a victim of this disgustingly corrupt state. I was convicted to 20 years due to corruption, discriminated and persecuted in prison due to corruption and now the transfer denied due to corruption. The Prosecutors office attempts to be on the side of the Bulgarian people, making such a popularist decision. However they have shown themselves to be of the same arrogant yoke as their political friends in parliament. They are the untouchables, unanswerable to anyone other themselves and this is where corruption and maladministration fester like gangrene to spread throughout society to destroy all around it.
Australians, in this election year, I ask all my friends and family to ask Labor and Liberal “what will they do for Jock?” Julia Gillard refused to help, so now it is time to ask Kevin Rudd “why have you been so quiet over the injustices committed against Jock?” and alternatively ask the opposition Tony Abbott “Why have you not challenged such inertia and silence of the government?”. Tony Abbott who claims to be motivated by Catholic values, the same values that motivated me to defend a man being attacked by 15, has offered nothing to help my family over the last 5 years despite me and many of my family living in his electorate. I have been forsaken by both political parties.
The state will inevitably keep me in prison to the minute of my 20 year sentence; this at least is the goal of Bulgarian Socialist Party Deputy Monov and his cronies in the party. And most likely they will succeed as there is no political will to help me from either of the major Australian parties. However I will be for every minute the international symbol of the Bulgarian states shame, the anti racist jailed for saving a persecuted mans life against 15 bloodthirsty neo fascists connected with National Resistance fascist organisation.
Please send your letters of outrage to the prosecutors office at:
Head Prosecutor of Bulgaria
No 2 vitosha bul
International Week Of Solidarity With Jock Palfreeman 22nd-28th April
Jock Palfreeman is an Australian who, on the 27th December 2007, on a night out in Sofia, Bulgaria; had the courage to stand up against a group of fascist hooligans. Witnessing the fascists chasing and attacking two young Roma boys, Jock ran to the boys' aid. He did his best to keep the fascists at bay but they ended up turning on and attacking him. Left with nowhere to run, Jock had no choice but to defend himself. Andrey Monov, one of the racist gang, was stabbed and later died. Another, Anton Zahariev was injured. The Roma boys ran away. Jock has since been tried and sentenced for murder and attempted murder. He was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment and has been given a fine running into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Andrey Monov's father is well known in Bulgaria and at his funeral there were a mixture of judges, police and politicians. Jock's trial was (not surprisingly) a complete sham – yet another example of corruption, secret handshakes in the judicial system and media bias. The prosecutions case was built on the witness statements made by the other racists that were part of the attacking group, all claiming that Jock randomly attacked and chased them, with the intent of killing somebody. Key people and possible witnesses for Jock's defence were never interviewed by police and CCTV footage from the scene miraculously went missing. Many of the statements made at the time were different to the statements submitted to the court by the prosecution., while Jock's statement has remained consistent from the night in question.
You can read Jock's official statement at www.freejock.com You can also watch a documentary about his case that contains interviews with Jock at the following links:
Jock appealed against his sentence and court hearings took place between October 2010 and January 2011. Despite some police officers confirming his version of events, despite one of the fascists making totally incoherent statements in court trying to explain why he changed his original testimony, despite mounting evidence of judicial errors during the initial trial and despite all other factors pointing to his innocence; his sentence of 20 years was upheld.
(For Jocks statement about this please go to: http://anarchistsolidarity.wordpress.com/2011/02/23/ jocks-sentence-upheld-after-an-appeal)
Jock has now lost all his appeals and the only way left for him, is to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. He is also trying to secure his transfer to Australia to serve his sentence, which is proving difficult as the Bulgarian prosecution service is determined to keep him imprisoned in Bulgaria. Authorities refuse to even discuss his possible transfer until his fine is paid, effectively holding Jock to ransom. Jock's family is currently collecting necessary funds and you can donate by visiting www.freejock.com.
It is now more important than ever, that we collectively put as much pressure on the Bulgarian authorities as possible, to accept Jock's transfer to Australia. Between the 22nd and 28th of April 2013 there will be an, International Week of Solidarity with Jock Palfreeman. We need to let Jock know that he is not alone in his struggle and that we are in it for the long run. Any solidarity actions can go a long way to assure that. He recently helped create the Bulgarian Association of Prisoners (www.bulgarianprisonersassociation.wordpress.com) and because he is its Chairman, he suffers repression from the prison's administration, such as a recent refusal of computer access to continue his university education, which pushed Jock into a 30-day hunger-strike. Jock needs us to act and he needs our solidarity. The more creative the actions the better. Don't let the Bulgarian state bury this courageous man alive in prison! Don't let them think that they can get away with it!
Another important aspect is, especially for people in Australia , to keep the pressure on their government to do something for Jock's case. His case has been too quiet in his home country for far too long. It is time to change that!
If you are short of ideas why not try one of the following:
Organise solidarity actions outside Bulgarian Embassies, Consulates, etc. (for a list of the Bulgarian Embassies and Consulates please see: http://www.buldir.com/ bulgarian_embassies_abroad.html). Phone/write the Bulgarian Embassies and Consulates with your protests.
Help us to swamp the Bulgarian Authorities with letters of protest, condemnation and requests for Jock's appeal to be accepted. It is also vital that we send protest messages to the prosecutors directly responsible for blocking his transfer to Australia. (Please see below for a list of addresses).
Ideally protest letters are best written in your own words..... BUT, we have provided a sample letter (attached) that can be sent if you do not want to write your own. Just print it, sign it and post it, simple as that. Please feel free to reprint it and distribute it to anyone you think may send a copy. We need to get the pressure up, and keep it up!
Addresses to post, fax and email your letters of protest to:
No.2 Vitosha blvd
Tel: +359 28051500
Email via: http://prb.bg/main/bg/pages/infcenter
[NB: the fields on the form translate as:
Name & Surname:
Complaint or question (10000 characters):
No.2 Vitosha blvd
Tel: +359 28051500
Email via: http://prb.bg/main/bg/pages/infcenter
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria
Address: 2 Aleksander Zhendov Str
Tel: +359 2 948 2999
http://www.mfa.bg/en/contact/ (ready form for sending messages from their website, very helpful)
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
No 1 Slavanska st
Finally, please write to Jock, even if it’s only a ‘good luck’ postcard. Any letters and postcards will help to keep Jock's spirit up and feeling positive. All will be 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 regarding the 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 accidental homicide in self-defence.
Mr. Palfreeman witnessed a 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 at his trial, to my astonishment, that key people and possible witnesses were never interviewed by police, that the CCTV footage from the scene went missing and that many of the peoples statements submitted to the court by the prosecution were not the same as the statements made on the night in question. Anything favourable of Mr. Palfreeman's defence was completely disregarded by the judge whilst 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, as so were all appeals.
I ask that the Bulgarian Authorities stop their attempts to keep him imprisoned in Bulgaria, and allow him to be transferred to an Australian prison where he can be closer to his family.
We will continue highlighting Mr. Palfreeman's case and showing our solidarity with him, until our requests have been satisfied.
Mr. Palfreeman selflessly saved the lives of two young boys, risking his own safety, at the cost of his own freedom. He should be deemed a hero, not deemed a cold blooded killer!
Anti-fascist Prisoner Jock Palfreeman Ends His Hunger Strike – But Still Needs Your Support
Australian Anti-fascist prisoner Jock Palfreeman, serving 20 years in Sofia/Bulgaria for defending two Roma boys from a racist mob, was on hunger strike from the 13th January 2013. The Director of the Central Sofia Prison had ordered another punishment measure because of Jock's activist work as chairman of the Bulgarian Prisoner's Association. Due to this punishment Jock is now not allowed to finish his studies which is very important to him.
After 30 days Jock ended his hunger strike because he got an answer from the Bulgarian authorities. The prison administration responsible for his case answered that he can only study in a Bulgarian University, and not in a foreign one. But, if he wants to study in a Bulgarian University he cannot do this from prison, so he is not permitted to continue his studies. This 'official' answer means that he can now apply in the courts against the decision. After losing 20 kilos in weight he ended his hunger strike and will continue his protest by legal ways.
Jock is very thankful for the support he received. But the issue of being able to continue his studies is not resolved, so it is still useful for friends and supporters to write letters to the Ministry of Justice in Bulgaria.
The fight continues! Please keep writing letters of complaint to:
Ministry of Justice
No. 1, Slavanska Street
A week of solidarity action for Jock is being planned for April, more information will be available soon...
For other ways to support Jock:
Write letters of support to:
Sofia Central Prison
21 General Stoletov Boulevard
Check out these websites for more information about his case:
Join the 'Freedom For Jock Palfreeman' page on Facebook for regular news and updates:
Sign this petition to the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice: To Approve Jock Palfreeman's Prison Transfer to Australia
Website of Bulgarian Prisoners Association:
Support Jock Palfreeman
Anti-fascist prisoner Jock Palfreeman has been on hungerstrike since 13th January 2013 because the Director of the Central Sofia Prison has ordered another punishment measure against him, most probably because of Jock's activist work as chairman of the Bulgarian Prisoner's Association
Due to this punishment Jock is now not allowed to finish his studies which are very important for him.
He asks for solidarity from all of you by petitioning the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice :
Ministry of Justice
1 Slavanska Street
Tel: 00 359 92 37 555
Fax: 00 359 981 91 57
Please send this information to other people who might support him, also relevant groups and websites.