300 judges issue unprecedented declaration calling on politicians to stop using Jock Palfreeman case for political gain, Official start of the local elections’ campaign

 mediapool.bg

[div class='center_orange']Opinion:[class='center_orange' div] The people crave for street justice. And so does the Prosecutor General The Bulgarian court of appeals granted the Australian Jock Palfreeman parole on September 22. He was serving a 20-year sentence in Sofia, after the court found him guilty of the murder of Andrey Monov back in 2009. Monov died by stab wounds after taking part in a street fight. Palfreeman got into a fight with Monov and friends of his and carried the knife, which inflicted the fatal wounds. Palfreeman maintained that he saw a Roma being attacked by skinheads, and that this was the reason he got into the fight. The court did not take into account – it seems – these facts, and sentenced the defendant for 20 years in prison. For the last ten years Palfreeman has managed to graduate university with high marks, learned Bulgarian, both volunteered and worked at the prison, sued Bulgaria several times for rights’ violations in the European Court for Human Rights and established an association dedicated to protecting and advocating for prisoners’ rights. By any measure, including the state’s, Palfreeman has been a more than exemplary inmate. This is well documented in his file and no relevant institution has argued these facts. The Bulgarian court grants parole fairly regularly and it is hardly newsworthy. The procedure is sound, a panel of judges reviews requests, proceeds, rules and motivates. The case with Palfreeman’s parole, however, quickly launched an avalanche of protest and dismay. The Prosecutor General, who has redesigned the Prosecutor’s Office to a politically driven powerhouse, whose main goal is to carry out smear campaigns and declare guilt without trial took on the opportunity and asked for the court to revise the ruling. To clarify, the ‘opportunity’ is a PR one, as most of anything coming out of the Prosecutor’s Office lately. Palfreeman got his parole at a rather sensitive time. Current Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov’s term is ending and his pick for successor – although running unopposed for the post – has caused a grave backlash from the Bulgarian public and near-weekly protests. The Prosecutor’s Office is out on a PR campaign to paint Geshev as being on the side of justice vs “criminals” and “oligarchs”. A number of Bulgarian institutions and persons issue letters of support every other day: from a university dean to heads of the police, to professors at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, coincidently most of them formal secret police operatives. The prime directive for Geshev’s candidacy is to take his brutal and often unlawful approach to his job and spin the discontent at him as fear of his just-ness and willingness to lock up criminals. As a foreigner Palfreeman is already seen as an enemy in xenophobic Bulgaria. A Bulgarian died at his hand. This in of itself is enough material for Palfreeman to carry ..


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