Bulgaria’s Justice Minister meets Australian diplomats over Jock Palfreeman case

A new Australian passport has been issued for murder convict Jock Palfreeman but he will receive it only after the completion of Supreme Court of Cassation proceedings regarding his parole, it emerged at a meeting between Bulgarian Justice Minister Daniel Kirilov and Jon Philp, chargé d’ affaires of the Australian embassy in Athens.

This is according to a statement by Bulgaria’s Justice Ministry, issued after the October 8 talks, which also involved two Bulgarian deputy ministers of justice and other Australian diplomats. The Australian embassy in Athens is also responsible for Bulgaria and Romania.

The talks were held a day after the Supreme Court of Cassation, which has been asked by Bulgaria’s Prosecutor-General to review and suspend Palfreeman’s parole, said that it would pronounce on the application within two months.

Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov is objecting on procedural grounds to the parole granted by the Sofia Court of Appeals to Palfreeman, who was 11 years into a 20-year sentence for the December 2007 murder of student Andrei Monov.

Although granted parole, Palfreeman is currently being held in Sofia’s Busmantsi temporary detention centre for foreigners.

According to the Bulgarian Justice Ministry statement, Philp expressed the opinion that the prison administration in Bulgaria had responded swiftly and adequately over the years regarding the safety and security of Palfreeman.

Australia was aware that everything was currently proceeding according to Bulgarian law and there were no deviations in the legal process, the Bulgarian Justice Ministry statement said.

Kirilov said he believed in the independence of the Bulgarian court and expressed confidence that the court would make the correct decision on the Prosecutor’s Office’s request to reopen the case of Palfreeman’s parole, the statement said.

Earlier reports said that Australia’s Foreign Minister had sought to discuss the Palfreeman case with her Bulgarian counterpart. Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said that she had declined the approach for a formal meeting and had referred the Australians to the consular service.

(Photo: Bulgarian Justice Ministry)



The Sofia Globe staff

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