The Sofia Administrative Court overturned the Bulgarian Migration Directorate’s 2011 ban on Australian murder convict Jock Palfreeman leaving Bulgaria, public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television reported on January 27.
The Administrative Court in Bulgaria’s capital city ruled that the ban on Palfreeman leaving the country applied in cases only when a foreigner was subject to an effective prison sentence.
Palfreeman was granted parole in September 2019 in a ruling by the Sofia Court of Appeals. This parole, however, was challenged in Bulgaria’s Supreme Court of Cassation by the Prosecutor-General. That court said on October 7 that it would rule on the Prosecutor-General’s application within two months. As of January 27 2020, no pronouncement by the Supreme Court of Cassation has been forthcoming.
At the time that his parole was granted, Palfreeman was serving the 11th year of a 20-year sentence in Sofia for the December 2007 killing of Andrei Monov in the Bulgarian capital city.
Palfreeman pleaded not guilty at all stages of his initial trial and has consistently protested his innocence.
The parole ruling has been the subject of political controversy, with criticism from parties across the spectrum. It also has caused crossfire within Bulgaria’s judiciary.
After he was granted parole, Palfreeman was transferred immediately to a detention centre for foreigners illicitly in the country, on the grounds that he had no valid travel documents, an allegation that his supporters rushed to deny as Australian authorities issued him a new passport and sought to deliver it to him. Palfreeman was released from the detention centre in mid-October, but at that time remained subject to the ban on him leaving Bulgaria.