Palfreeman remains in Bulgarian limbo

Australian Jock Palfreeman is concerned the Bulgarian government is still not letting him leave.
Australian Jock Palfreeman is concerned the Bulgarian government is still not letting him leave.

The Bulgarian government has indicated it will lift its travel ban on Australian Jock Palfreeman, but the 33-year-old remains unsure when or if he will be allowed to leave the country.

The Bulgarian Interior Ministry told reporters on Friday it will start the procedure of lifting the travel ban after a bid to appeal Palfreeman's parole was thrown out of the Supreme Court of Cassation on Thursday.

But the Australian says he has heard nothing from the government and remains barred from leaving the country.

"We have no news, but it's past 5pm here on a Friday and no one from the government has called me or my lawyer," Palfreeman told AAP.

"If it is true what the Ministry of Interior has told the press, it is just another example of corruption and lack of professionalism within the government as not only is information not being given to my legal representive but this is personal and private information that violates my right to private life."

He was also concerned the ministry may be misleading the press as he says it has done so regarding his situation in the past.

When he was initially released on parole in October the Bulgarian government claimed he was being held in an immigration detention centre because he didn't have a passport.

But the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade later confirmed that Palfreeman did have a passport at the time.

"No one knows. They lied before: the same press office said I was being detained because I didn't have a passport," he said.

"They could be doing anything. One thing is for sure: their illegal refusal to let me leave the country hasn't stopped."

Palfreeman was granted parole in October after he served almost 12 years of a 20-year sentence for murder and attempted murder in the 2007 stabbing of two Bulgarians in Sofia. He maintains he acted in self defence.

Reuters and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported on Friday that the Interior Ministry had made an order to start the process of lifting the travel ban on Palfreeman.

But when asked to the clarify those reports, a Bulgarian government spokesperson told local newspaper Sega that: "we will start the procedure for synchronizing".

Bulgarian nationalist politicians have decried the decision to grant Palfreeman parole and the government's refusal since October to let him leave the country has strained relations with Australia.

Palfreeman has steadfastly maintained his innocence of the crime for which he was convicted.

The former student of St Ignatius' College in Sydney was serving in the British army at the time of the incident, and says he acted in self-defence after coming to the aid of two people from the Roma community.

Video footage of that night released since his parole, which was not available during his 2007 trial, appears to corroborate his version of events.

Australian Associated Press