[Update : Palfreeman stabbed Monov in self defense, News.bg, April 24, 2009 | Sofia City Court postpones trial against Australian Jock Palfreeman, FOCUS News Agency, April 27, 2009: “The next court sitting is scheduled for May 27th 2009 at 9:30 a.m.”
Update (May 20): Two — not one — Bulgarian police have testified that Jock acted in self defence and in defence of a Romani. Originally, ten police officers did so, but eight later changed their testimony in court. Further, two pieces of video evidence have been referred to in court: one was ‘lost’. The prosecuting attorney offered a different (false) version of what was on the first piece of tape; the other video footage is still ‘lost’, however the presiding judge ordered for it to be found, and if not, for a report to be written as to what happened to it. To cut a long story short, Bulgarian police failed to secure the tape within a four-day period, and it was deleted. Subsequently, Jock’s lawyer requested that the HDD onto which the footage was recorded be examined. Somewhat miraculously, the HDD then up and exploded (the alleged result of a power surge). Then, when asked to have the HDD examined, it was instead — again, somewhat mysteriously — thrown into what is reportedly Bulgaria’s largest rubbish dump. Finally, it should be noted that, according to court documents, having been tested, there was no evidence of Jock having any traces of illicit drugs in his system, and he was recorded as having a blood alcohol reading of 0.1. Andrei, on the other hand, had a BAC of 0.29, and Anton a BAC reading of 0.19. In other words, of three individuals — Jock, Andrei and Anton — Jock was the most sober, and the only individual among a group of 20 arrested — this despite the fact that the mob attacked police when they attended the scene.]
For those of you coming in late…
Jock Palfreeman is an Australian citizen currently on remand in prison in Bulgaria. He stands accused of the murder of Andrey Monov and the attempted murder of Antoan Zahariev on the night of December 28, 2007. According to the prosecution, on that evening Jock launched an unprovoked attack upon Andrei and Antoan, possibly while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. According to Jock’s defence, Jock acted in self-defence, his action being prompted by an assault upon him by a large group of fascist football hooligans, one preceded by an assault by the same group upon a Romani.
Jock’s case is still making its way through the Bulgarian court system. At recent hearings, evidence has been produced by his defence which lends support to Jock’s claims. Thus:
- One policeman has testified that police who were initially present at the scene informed him that Jock had gone to the defence of two Roma, under assault by a group of men, and that this same group then turned upon Jock.
Another witness has testified that he saw Jock running away from this group and that upon catching him members of the group proceded to beat him.
Video footage — which had previously been ‘lost’ — has been found and played in court. It shows a group of approximately 20 men chasing a Roma. Other footage shows the group throwing stones at the same person. Importantly, the footage was taken prior to the incident involving Jock in which Andrei was killed.
Also of interest: in February, local fascists organised a rally in Sofia, demanding that Jock be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. A local journalist who attended the rally was threatened by the protesters.
More generally, attacks against Roma have spiked in recent years, and much of the far right, in a number of European countries, have declared that the eradication of Roma from their territories is of utmost political importance. The anti-Roma campaigns include both propaganda and violence. (See : Fascism, the next generation, Anna Porter, Globe and Mail, May 9, 2009 ~versus~ May Day: Festival against racism.)
For further infos, see : The European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), “an international public interest law organisation engaging in a range of activities aimed at combating anti-Romani racism and human rights abuse of Roma. The approach of the ERRC involves, in particular, strategic litigation, international advocacy, research and policy development, and training of Romani activists.”
- For further information on Jock’s case, please see:
Happy New Year, Suckers! // Justice 4 Jock, January 1, 2008
Palfreeman not scared, did duty (says Mister Miranda), January 7, 2008
‘Murder accused has star status’ (Er… Marnie? Um…), January 20, 2008
Jock Palfreeman : Update, February 6, 2008
Jock Palfreeman in court, May 22, 2008
Dad’s bid to free murder charge son Jock Palfreeman, July 8, 2008
Man Shoots Neo-Nazi in Self-Defense, September 23, 2008
Jock Palfreeman & Fascism in Bulgaria, September 30, 2008