Bulgaria’s Prosecutor-General asks supreme court to suspend parole of Palfreeman
Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov has petitioned the Supreme Court of Cassation to re-open the Jock Palfreeman case and suspend a ruling by the Court of Appeals in Sofia granting the Australian murder convict parole.
This was announced by the Prosecutor’s Office in the late afternoon of September 24.
The statement said that the Prosecutor-General had received a petition from Axeniya and Hristo Monov, parents of Andrei Monov – the student Palfreeman was convicted of murdering – asking Tsatsarov to apply to the Supreme Court of Cassation for the revocation of Palfreeman’s parole.
After the Court of Appeals granted Palfreeman parole, 11 years into his 20-year prison sentence, he was transferred to a temporary detention centre for foreigners illicitly in the country because his Australian passport had expired. Australian media reported on September 24 that Palfreeman was awaiting a passport and travel arrangements so that he could leave Bulgaria.
The petition to Tsatsarov argued that there were legal flaws in the ruling by the Court of Appeals.
Andrei Monov’s parents also, according to media reports, are seeking to bar Palfreeman from leaving Bulgaria because of a failure by the Australian to pay 600 000 leva (about 300 000 euro) in compensation to the family, as ordered by the court that found him guilty of murder and handed him a 20-year sentence.
The only sum paid so far to the Monov family is 3500 euro, transferred to them by order of a Bulgarian court after a 2016 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights awarding that sum to Palfreeman on the grounds that his rights to freedom of expression had been breached.
The parole granted to Palfreeman has been the subject of widespread criticism by politicians across the spectrum in Bulgaria, and by academics and commentators in the media and on social networks.
Following a regular scheduled meeting on September 24, the judges chamber of the Supreme Judicial Council said that the handling of the case by the appeal court judges was being referred to the SJC’s Inspectorate for investigation.