Man held in Bulgarian journalist murder probe

Viktoria Marinova was raped and murdered

"Her death was caused by blows to the head and suffocation, and her mobile phone, vehicle keys, glasses and some of her clothing were missing", Ruse regional prosecutor Georgy Georgiev said.

The 30 year old worked as a presenter on a current affairs talk programme called Detector.

Worldwide, at least 48 journalists have been killed doing their work in 2018, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, an organization that promotes press freedom. A Bulgarian investigative online media site went even further, calling for an independent global inquiry, saying that a Bulgarian probe could be compromised by corrupt Bulgarian officials.

A Bulgarian man in his early twenties has been arrested in Germany and charged with raping and murdering a television journalist.

Prosecutors have said "all leads" are being considered, including possible links to Marinova's professional activity. The Balkan nation, which joined the European Union in 2007, was ranked 71st on Transparency International's corruption list a year ago.

Her death has angered many in Bulgaria, where people are frustrated with corruption and an inefficient judiciary that has been criticised by the European Commission.

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

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).




Worldwide organisations have also called for Bulgarian authorities to act swiftly, with the European Commission demanding a thorough investigation to bring those responsible to justice. "Hostility towards the media, openly encouraged by political leaders, and the efforts of authoritarian regimes to export their vision of journalism pose a threat to democracies".

The interior ministry announced the probe late Monday.

Reports say the suspect was a Romanian citizen with a Moldovan passport.

Azoulay said: "Attacks on journalists erode the fundamental human right to freedom of expression and its corollaries, press freedom and free access to information".

The German government sharply condemned the killing, 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".

"First Malta, then Slovakia, now Bulgaria".

Viktoria Marinova, 30, is the third journalist to be murdered in the European Union in the a year ago and the fourth since the start of 2017. Both were killed due to their investigations into corrupt officials.

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