Bulgarian court to eye revoking parole for Australian man

September 27, 2019 - 5:37 am

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgaria's highest court says it will look into a petition by the chief prosecutor to revoke the parole by a lower court to an Australian man convicted of fatally stabbing a Bulgarian student during a 2007 brawl.

The Supreme Court of Cassation announced Thursday it will hold a hearing Oct. 23 to review a lower court's ruling to grant parole to Jock Palfreeman. The Australian man had served 11 years of his 20-year prison sentence when a three-judge Court of Appeals panel unexpectedly ordered him freed last Thursday.

The 32-year-old left prison but was transferred to an immigration detention facility to await a new passport from the nearest Australian Embassy, in Athens.

The release of the Australian has sparked angry reactions among Bulgarians, who accused the judiciary of double standards and a leniency toward foreigners.

Palfreeman's lawyer, Kalin Angelov, said he had advised Australian authorities to speed up the passport and put Palfreeman on a plane home.

The new development, however, means that Palfreeman has to remain in custody pending the supreme court's ruling and "for his personal security," according to Deputy Interior Minister Stefan Balabanov.

Dozens of relatives and friends of the slain student rallied Thursday in downtown Sofia to protest Palfreeman's parole.

"What did not happen last week, I expect to happen on Oct. 23. Last week the law was violated and the whole nation's feeling for justice was hurt," said Hristo Monov, father of the slain student.

The Monov family also wants Palfreeman to be barred from leaving Bulgaria pending the payment of 300,000 euros ($326,000) in compensation that the court ordered the Australian man to pay to them.

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