Pip Hinman: Support needed for prison reform activist Jock Palfreeman on hunger strike

Jock Palfreeman, an Australian serving a 20-year jail sentence in Bulgaria on trumped-up murder charges, has been on a hunger strike since April 21.

There has been little news about Palfreeman because the Bulgarian prison authorities have gone to great lengths to cut off any communication he had with the outside world.

While Palfreeman is no newcomer to protest, including in prison, the lack of information about his condition is worrying. His family have been able to get updates through his lawyer Kalin Angelov, who has received sporadic phone calls from Palfreeman. Angelov says the hunger strike is serious and a sign of desperation.

“Palfreeman’s hunger strike is a desperate outcry; a call for help in a moment of woe and adversity,” he wrote on May 7.

Palfreeman was transferred from the more open Kazichene prison to the restrictive Sofia Central Prison on May 2, where he has been placed under medical supervision.

Dessi Tzoneva, a friend of Palfreeman, told Green Left Weekly that prison authorities have targeted him for his work to improve conditions for all prisoners. Ironically, he has also been a target because he has been a model prisoner.

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