European Leaders Demand Investigation Of Slain Bulgarian Journalist


A suspect in the rape and killing of a Bulgarian television journalist whose work highlighted corruption in the East European country has been arrested in Germany, officials said Wednesday. "We're still checking his alibi", Teodor Atanasov, police commissioner in the city of Ruse, northern Bulgaria, told journalists.

The brutal killing of 30-year-old Viktoria Marinova - who presented a current affairs talk programme called "Detector" for the small TVN television channel - shocked the country and drew worldwide condemnation.

Ruse prosecutor Georgy Georgiev said her mobile phone, auto keys, glasses and some of her clothes were missing.

She was a presenter on a current affairs talk programme called Detector, which had recently aired an interview with two Bulgarian investigative journalists exploring alleged fraud involving European Union funds and prominent businessmen and politicians.

Ms Marinova is the third European journalist to be killed in the past year.

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

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"This is a topic on which no other Bulgarian national media dared to report on", he told The Associated Press. "In no way, under any form, never have we received any threats - aimed at her or the television".

The first episode of her programme, aired on September 30, featured an investigation into fraud allegations against oligarchs and politicians.

"I see deliberate attempts to marginalize this killing and manipulate the public opinion that Viktoria was a victim of a random attack or sexual manslaughter", Assen Yordanov said, adding that Marinova was the only TV journalist who had agreed to host his website's journalists to discuss the investigation.

The attack has shocked the country and drawn global condemnation amid speculation the murder could be linked to Marinova's work as a journalist. "It was meant to serve as an example, something like a warning".

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

In October, one of Malta's best-known journalists, Daphne Caruana Galizia, who had worked on the Panama Papers revelations, was killed after a bomb exploded in a rented vehicle she was using.