Bulgarian TV journalist who covered European Union corruption brutally murdered

Viktoria Marinova a Bulgarian TV journalist was raped and murdered prosecutors and the interior minister said

Bulgarian journalist and television personality Viktoria Marinova was found brutally murdered and raped on Saturday.

The Bulgarian Interior Minister Mladen Marinov described the murder as "exceptionally brutal" and said Marinova was raped before she was murdered, according to state media.

Chief Public Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov said that officials were following all lines of inquiry into the killing of Viktoria Marinova.

A spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry told CNN the 21-year-old suspect had been arrested close to the northern German city of Hamburg.

The first episode of her programme, aired on September 30, featured an investigation into alleged fraud involving European Union funds linked to oligarchs and politicians.

A Bulgarian news site, Rusemedia.bg, said Marinova may have been jogging at the time, training for an upcoming road race.

Marinova is at least the third journalist killed in an European Union country this year, after investigative journalists Jan Kuciak of Slovakia and Daphne Caruana Galizia of Malta also turned up dead.

A spokesman for European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said he expected "a swift and thorough investigation" that would "bring those responsible to justice and clarify whether this attack was linked to her work".

"In no way, under any form, never have we received any threats - aimed at her or the television station", a journalist from TVN told AFP under condition of anonymity, adding that he and his colleagues are now concerned about their safety. Tsatsarov said the evidence suggested it was "a spontaneous attack, not premeditated".




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.

According to the USAToday, her body was found in the Danube River, near the Bulgarian town of Ruse.

Bulgarian authorities filed the charges against the man and were expecting Germany to transfer him to their territory, the minister added. And Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said Sunday that authorities were working together alongside the "best forensics" team to solve the murder.

News agency reports about the killing were carried on several prominent worldwide media, which cited other murders of journalists in European countries in 2018.

However, Marinova only presented the show and did not conduct the interview herself, which in turn provided no new information about the matter, media reports said. In a summary, the organization noted that "corruption and collusion between media, politicians, and oligarchs is widespread".

The Committee to Protect Journalists said it was "shocked by the barbaric murder".

But a number of experts in Bulgaria were more sceptical about a political motive, arguing that Marinova was not an investigative journalist and the way the killing was carried out did not fit in with such a scenario.

Bulgaria is regarded as a laggard in the European Union in matters of press freedom, ranking 111th out of a total 180 in this area, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Local people held a candlelight vigil October 8 and many left flowers to commemorate Marinova, who left a seven-year-old daughter.

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