Journalist Viktoria Marinova Killed in Northeast Bulgaria

A candlelight vigil in Marinova's memory is organised for Monday evening in Sofia

A candlelight vigil in Marinova's memory is organised for Monday evening in Sofia

Police in Germany have arrested a suspect in the rape and killing of Bulgarian journalist Viktoria Marinova, officials said.

Interior Minister Mladen Marinov confirmed that Marinova had been raped and said there are now no links between the crime and Marinova's work as a journalist.

He has been identified as 21-year-old Severin Krasimirov, but prosecutors are not yet sure whether the murder was linked to Ms Marinova's work.

In Bulgaria, police found the body of a 30-year-old journalist Saturday in the northern town of Ruse, after she disappeared shortly after reporting on the misuse of European Union funds by local authorities.

The police have said they are looking into all possible motives but the founder of Bivol.bg, whose reporters were on Marinova's last show, said he feared authorities were downplaying the likelihood of links to her work.

On her last aired TV show as an anchor on September 30, she introduced two journalists, Dimitar Stoyanov from the Bivol.bg website and Attila Biro from the Romanian Rise Project, who were investigating alleged corruption involving European Union funds linked to big businessmen and politicians.


"Again a courageous journalist falls in the fight for truth and against corruption", Frans Timmermans, vice president of the European Commission, said Monday in Brussels.

Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who investigated local government corruption, was killed in October 2017 by a bomb that destroyed her vehicle. The European Union and the United States have urged Bulgaria to bring the killer to justice.

Working at the private TVN television, she had recently launched a current-events talk show called Detector. "We think they are trying to hide something", said Atanas Chobanov, editor of the Bulgarian investigative site "Bivol".

"In the last six years, it's been an incredibly unsafe time to be a journalist", says Robert Mahoney the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) deputy executive director.

The body of Viktoria Marinova, 30, was discovered in Ruse, northern Bulgaria, on Saturday October 6.

While Marinova didn't appear to have been closely involved in the fraud investigation, her show touched on a sensitive subject in Bulgaria, where corruption is endemic. Bulgaria's Prime Minister, Boyko Borissov, told reporters a "large amount" of DNA had been collected. "None of them true", he told a news conference.


At the same time, he clarified that Marinova was a television presenter and technically not an investigative reporter.

And the UN's cultural agency, UNESCO, similarly said that "attacks on journalists erode the fundamental human right to freedom of expression and its corollaries, press freedom and free access to information".

The crime has sparked worldwide outcry, with condemnation from the OSCE and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Marinova's killing - as a random act of violence or as a targeted hit - comes after two other cases that provoked concerns about press freedom in Europe.

"All versions" regarding the murder were on the table, the vice director of local police, Ilian Enchev, said.

Vigils in Marinova's memory were held Monday evening in Ruse, the capital Sofia and other cities.


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