Bulgarian NGO Drops Controversial Nomination for Human Rights AwardBusiness | November 6, 2015, Friday // 18:26| views
The nomination of Palfreeman’s for the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee’s 2015 Human of the Year Award sparked protest action in front of the NGO headquarters in Sofia on 5 November 2015. Photo by BGNES
The Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC) has dropped a controversial nomination for its Human of the Year Award following a public outcry.
“In connection with the public reaction and following an internal discussion the BHC has decided to drop the individual nomination of Jock Palfreeman but leave in place the nomination of the Bulgarian Association for Prisoners’ Rehabilitation,” the BHC said in a statement on Friday.
The association, a non-profit organisation, is headed by Palfreeman, an Australian citizen who is serving a 20-year jail term in Bulgaria for the 2007 murder of Bulgarian student Andrey Monov.
“The nomination of Jock Palfreeman was entirely based on his work as an activist for prisoners’ rights and in no way intended to justify his crime or downplay the life of Andrei Monov,” the BHC said. “We sincerely regret that we’ve contributed to the deepening of the grief of the victim’s relatives and friends by admitting the nomination.”
A protest action took place in front the BHC building in Sofia on Thursday, in which relatives and friends of Monov voiced their discontent with the nomination of Palfreeman and urged the BHC to withdraw it.