Norway: ”Not our Problem” re Hunger Strike

Jock Pallfreman Hunger Strike Sofia BulgariaJock Pallfreman is hunger striking in Sofia prison in Bulgaria. Photo: the Bottled Wasp Pocket Diary / Facebook

Norway: “Not our Problem” re Sofia Hunger Strike

According to a press release from Bulgarian Diaspora and Friends (BDF), Norway washes its hands regarding the hunger strike against corruption and abuse of power in Bulgaria. The hunger strike now enters into the third week.

As Norway Today has mentioned before, Norway is contributing large sums of money to Bulgaria through the EU to renovate the prison system of Bulgaria.-

Norwegian tax money is invested in the prisons of Bulgaria via the Norwegian Financial Mechanism – in partnership with the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice.

The latest press release of the expat group Bulgarian Diaspora and Friends follows below:



Day 20 of hunger strike in Sofia prison against corruption and abuse of power

Jock Palfreeman, the chairperson of the Bulgarian Prisoners’ Association for Rehabilitation (BPRA), commenced the hunger strike on April 21, 2019, in protest of corruption and abuse of power in Sofia prison. Palfreeman declared the strike after experiencing two years of repressions of BPRA and himself as chairperson, coming directly from the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice and via their subordinates, the Sofia prison administration.

During the strike, repressions of Palfreeman have continued. They culminated in the creation of a life-endangering situation for a person in a vulnerable health state, as during the hunger strike Palfreeman was placed for medical observation in one of the units of Sofia prison hospital, not any, but the Infectious Disease Unit.

Since the beginning of the strike, Bulgarian Diaspora and Friends – New York has addressed the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice with accountability questions on the case, multiple times. We have also written to the Norwegian government, which currently partners with the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice on a 30 million euro grant for bringing the Bulgarian prison system «in line with international human rights standards». 

The Norwegian government has recently responded to our questions on the case by saying that “It is the government of Bulgaria that is responsible for the administration and running of all correctional facilities in Bulgaria”. So far, we have not heard a word from the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice.

The hunger strike of Palfreeman against corruption and abuse of power continues. We continue too, by addressing EU government institutions and civil society organizations working on human rights and rule of law in the Union, of which Bulgaria is a member state.

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