Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

Suspect arrested after Bulgarian journalist Viktoria Marinova raped and murdered

Viktoria Marinova Viktoria Marinova
Deanna Wagner | 10 October, 2018, 07:55

Police have said the 30-year-old journalist was brutally beaten, raped, and strangled, and that their inquiry was looking into both her personal and professional life.

Some of the mourners in the capital went on to protest against corruption in front of the Palace of Justice and called for the resignation of the government and chief prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov, reports said.

Bulgarian media reported that the park where her body was found is adjacent to a psychiatric facility and that authorities were investigating whether a patient could have attacked Marinova, reported The Washington Post.

The TVN channel expressed shock over the killing of its colleague and board member, but declined to comment further.

A Bulgarian investigative online media site has gone further, calling for an independent global inquiry, saying a Bulgarian investigation could be compromised by corrupt Bulgarian officials.

"I strongly hope that the truth will soon be uncovered, her perpetrator or perpetrators found and justly punished", Teodora Shopova said after lighting a candle at the vigil.

Late on October 8, the Interior Ministry announced that prosecutors had opened an investigation into the GP Group and froze 14 million euros ($16 million) of its assets, as hundreds of people thronged candlelight vigils in Sofia and Marinova's hometown of Ruse.

Bivol.bg owner Assen Yordanov said he could not directly link Ms Marinova's killing to her work, but noted her 30 September show tackled "our very sensitive investigation into the misuse of European Union funds". He said Marinova was linked to bivol.bg's investigations because its reporters had appeared on her show.

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"With oligarchs exercising a media monopoly and authorities suspected of corruption or organized crime links, journalists are exposed to many forms of pressure and intimidation when trying to perform their reporting duties in Bulgaria", says the press freedom advocacy group.

Marinova is the third journalist to be murdered in the European Union in a year.

The German government also sharply condemned the slaying, with the Foreign Ministry saying it was imperative "that there's a fast investigation and that this frightful event will be illuminated as comprehensively as possible".

She was a director of TVN, a TV station in Ruse, and a TV presenter for two investigative programmes.

Bulgarian Interior Minister Mladen Marinov insisted Monday there was no evidence to suggest the killing was linked to Marinova's work.

Her final show on September 30 was a program about Attila Biro, an investigative journalist with the Rise Project Romania, and Dimitar Stoyanov from the Bulgarian investigative site Bivol.bg.

But Bivol.bg owner Asen Yordanov said he had received credible information his journalists were in danger of being assaulted because of the investigation that featured on Ms Marinova's show.

Speaking under the condition of anonymity, a TVN journalist told Agence-France Presse, "We are in shock".