'An eye for an eye': Disturbing threat for Aussie detained in Bulgaria

There are grave concerns for an Australian man recently freed from a Bulgarian prison following 11 years in jail.

Jock Palfreeman, 32, spent more than 11 years in a Bulgarian jail after being convicted of murder - was released on parole earlier this week but is banned from travelling.

He was convicted after fatally stabbing a local student in 2007, but has always maintained his innocence, saying he acted in self defence.

Palfreeman’s friend and advocate for his freedom Ashleigh Wainwright told The Project she still fears for his safety.

“Last year Jock actually revoked his application for parole because there were death threats against him and they were made by the father of the deceased saying if he was to be released, it would be an eye for an eye sort of situation,” Ms Wainwright told the program.

“So, I think it is natural that we're worried about that.”

Jock Palfreeman leaves a detention centre in Bulgaria on Tuesday. Source: AAP

Palfreeman’s dad Simon said he’s also worried about his son being sent back to jail to serve the rest of his sentence.

"It's incredibly worrying that Jock could get so close within the legal system of Bulgaria to the point where we're actually looking at how to get him home, and then to be stopped at the last minute by the same corrupt process that saw him jailed for 20 years in the first place," the Newcastle-based pathologist told AAP on Thursday.

"I've got to the stage now where until he's back on Australian soil, I really do not trust that he will be let out of Bulgaria."

Nevertheless, Mr Palfreeman is desperately hoping his son could be back in NSW by Christmas to be reunited with his ailing grandparents.

"Having him home for Christmas would be a great thing for him, but also a magical moment for his extended family," he said.

"I just hope the Bulgarian system is strong enough to withstand this corrupt assault."

Palfreeman's parole angered nationalist politicians in Bulgaria prompting the chief prosecutor to ask for the review. The Supreme Court of Cassation has two months to make a decision.

Palfreeman's Bulgarian lawyer, Kalin Angelov, says it would be a "huge catastrophe" if he's returned to jail.

Some fear Palfreeman could end up back in prison. He's pictured here being released. Source: AAP

"I don't know what will happen," the lawyer told AAP.

"We're in some very strange legal territory and nothing is following the rules."

Foreign Minister Marise Payne on Thursday said the Australian government was concerned "if non-legal issues were seen to have an influence on the process".

"We have called and continued to call for the Bulgarian authorities to allow Mr Palfreeman to travel to Australia given his paroled status," Senator Payne told parliament.

Palfreeman’s mother and father have drawn strength from their son's character as demonstrated by their work setting up the Bulgarian Prisoners' Rehabilitation Association.

Close friend, Ashleigh Wainwright fears Palfreeman might be in danger due to threats made against him. Source: The Project/ 10 Network

"It's amazing that after almost 12 years of imprisonment in such terrible circumstances he's managed to maintain passion, emotion, a sense of humour and an ability to achieve results," Mr Palfreeman senior told AAP.

Palfreeman has indicated he could ultimately settle in Bulgaria.

His father says he would be happy for Jock - who speaks fluent Bulgarian and is currently staying with close friends in Sofia - to live in the country if the prosecutor-general's application is thrown out and it's safe.

Bulgarian radio reporter Ekaterina Katratcheva says Jock Palfreeman is a polarising figure in her homeland.

Ms Katratcheva told AAP while he was almost forgotten after spending 11 years in prison the granting of parole put Palfreeman firmly back into the public spotlight.

"It was like an explosion, it became a very hot topic and a very divisive topic for our society," she said.

"Almost everyone in Bulgaria knows his name."

Supporters call for Palfreeman's freedom in a rally outside Sydney Town Hall last week. Source: AAP

With AAP

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