Published: Wed, October 10, 2018
Arts&Culture | By Matthew Castillo

Bulgarian police probing journalist Viktoria Marinova's murder detain Romanian

Bulgarian police probing journalist Viktoria Marinova's murder detain Romanian 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".

Severin Krasimirov left Bulgaria for Germany on Sunday, the day after the rape and murder, Bulgarian newspaper 168 Chasa reports.

But Bulgaria's interior minister Mladen Marinov said there was no evidence to suggest the killing was linked to Ms Marinova's work.

A woman holds a candle next to a portrait of slain journalist Viktoria Marinova during a vigil at the Monument of Liberty in Ruse, Bulgaria, on Monday.

The two investigative journalists, Attila Biro and Dimitar Stoyanov, were themselves arrested in September while looking into the case, in a country that ranks lowest of any European Union member in the Press Freedom Index.

Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, said attacks on journalists erode fundamental human rights to freedom of expression and press.

Biro told the AP that he had never met Marinova - he said one of her colleagues had interviewed him and Stoyanov about their work. Caruana Galizia was killed in a vehicle bombing in October in Malta and Jan Kuciak was murdered in Slovakia in February.

Marinova's body was found on October 6 in a park near the Danube River in Ruse.

"Shocked by horrific murder of investigative journalists Victoria Marinova in #Bulgaria", read a tweet from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

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

Marinova had worked at the Ruse-based TV station TVN as a reporter.

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.

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 owner Asen Yordanov told AFP that "Viktoria's death, the brutal manner in which she was killed, is an execution".

Instead, the attack seems to have been a spontaneous sexual assault, chief prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov said, adding that all possibilities were still being considered. The journalist said he and his coworkers feared for their safety.

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