Aussie Jock Palfreeman's Chance For Freedom Caught In Bitter Political Fight
Australian man Jock Palfreeman will have to wait up to two months to find out if he will be allowed to go home, or serve another decade in a Bulgarian prison.
The 32-year-old has served 11 years of a 20-year sentence for murder, but has always maintained he was acting in self-defence in the fight in 2007.
He was granted parole last month for being a “model prisoner”, but after the decision caused a political backlash in Bulgaria, the case is back in court.
There’s a local election coming up in Bulgaria – and parole was not a popular decision. Judges lobbied for the case to be reconsidered by the Supreme Court.
After the former Sydney-sider was granted parole, a group of 25 senior Bulgarian judges claimed Palfreeman should not have been released early.
That was met with 300 judges rallying together to hit back, claiming political interference was putting justice at risk.
The delay in making a decision may well actually be a good thing for Palfreeman; following local elections in a fortnight, some of the political firestorm may pass before the case gets a decision.
He will stay in immigration detention in Sofia until a decision is made.
He has already served more than half of the sentence he was handed for a crime he says he didn’t commit, saying his actions were in self defence.
But now there is a very real risk he’ll soon end up back in the same prison he was freed from just two weeks ago.
Palfreeman’s lawyer spoke of his client’s amazing spirit.
Palfreeman did not appear in court on Monday. He said he boycotted it, concerned that he is being used for political gains by the prosecutor.
Prosecutors argued that the parole judges did not have the power to make the decision and were not impartial.
Palfreeman’s lawyer said that was absurd and the case return to court was due to a public outcry.
Now it’s up to the Supreme Court to decide Palfreeman’s fate.