Podcast: Jock Palfreeman – an Australian imprisoned in Bulgaria

 12 January 2014

“The Hair of the Dog”

Producer: Thea Cowie & David Barbeler
Sound Engineer: Mark Don
Supervising Producer: Claudia Taranto

When Australian Jock Palfreeman was locked up in one of the world’s worst jails, Bulgaria’s Sofia Central Prison, he was 21 years old. He’ll be 41 when he finally leaves.

There´s a kitchen in Jock´s cell but prisoners are not allowed knives or hotplates which makes cooking very difficult.

There´s a kitchen in Jock´s cell but prisoners are not allowed knives or hotplates which makes cooking very difficult.

Jock’s got plenty to be angry about in the long intervening years: shocking living conditions, serious physical abuse and the events that sent him to jail. In 2007 Jock made the fateful split second decision to step in and defend two young gypsies, or Roma, who were being bashed up by 15 men in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia. The men turned on him and in the ensuing scuffle, one Bulgarian man was murdered and another was seriously injured. Jock was convicted of the crimes, despite serious questions being raised about the evidence against him.

On the bottom of the bookshelf you can just make out the photo of Jock and his brother taken inside the prison a few years ago.

On the bottom of the bookshelf you can just make out the photo of Jock and his brother taken inside the prison a few years ago.

Standing up for the weak and vulnerable was arguably what got Jock into trouble in the first place, but being behind bars hasn’t stopped him from campaigning for others’ rights. In fact, that’s what he spends most of his time in jail doing. He is attempting to establish a prisoners union and helps other inmates with their grievances against the system.

Jock is the only prisoner in his cell to have made his space homely. This is his corner. Note the crumbling roof.

Jock is the only prisoner in his cell to have made his space homely. This is his corner. Note the crumbling roof.

Podcast: Jock Palfreeman: an Australian imprisoned in Bulgaria – ABC 2014.01.12

Further Information
Web page created by Jock’s family and friends: Freejock 
Jock Palfreeman on Australian Story: Conviction Part One & Conviction Part Two
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A little about me and the blog…


I'm studying archival science (include records management). My studies bring me to Bulgaria for six months.

I have been to Bulgaria on vacation but I don't know the language, Cyrillic alphabet or anybody. So I´ll be encountering many new situations and hopefully gain some insights from them. Some of it may end up on my blog. But even blogging is new to me sooo we´ll see...

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