Bulgarian broadcast journalist raped and murdered

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The investigative journalist recently reported on alleged fraud with EU funds linked to big businessmen and politicians. Bulgarian authorities, however, have said the crime did not immediately appear linked to her work.

A television journalist was brutally murdered in Bulgaria’s northern town of Ruse, prosecutors said Sunday.

Viktoria Marinova, who reported on an investigation into alleged corruption involving European Union funds, died of blows to her head and suffocation, regional prosecutor Georgy Georgiev said.

The 30-year-old’s body was found in a park on Saturday, Georgiev said.

“Her mobile phone, car keys, glasses and part of her clothes were missing,” Georgiev said.

Bulgarian Interior Minister Mladen Marinov later confirmed that the victim had also been raped. He said there was no evidence to suggest that the murder was linked to her work.

Unearthing corruption

Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said it was only a matter of time before the police find the perpetrator.

“I am convinced it is a matter of time before the murder would be revealed. The best criminologists were sent to Ruse, let’s not press them. A large amount of DNA has been obtained,” Borisov said.

Marinova was a board member of the Ruse-based TV station TVN. She recently reported on an investigation by a group of Bulgarian journalists into companies involved in EU-funded infrastructure projects administered by local authorities.

“With great pain and insurmountable grief the TVN’s team is experiencing the loss of our beloved colleague Victoria Marinova and we pray for sympathy to the sorrow of her relatives and colleagues,” TVN said in a short statement.

Calls for speedy investigation

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) media freedom representative Harlem Desir condemned Marinova’s killing on Twitter.

Reporters Without Borders, which ranked Bulgaria 111th out of 180 countries in its world press freedom index this year, called for an urgent investigation into the murder.

Marinova is the third journalist to have been murdered in the EU in a year.

Last October, Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed when a powerful bomb blew up her car and Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak was shot dead in February.

ap/aw (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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