A journalist working for one of Bulgaria’s most popular television stations and who had recently reported on alleged corruption involving European Union funds was brutally raped and murdered over the weekend, according to The Guardian.
> Bulgarian prosecutors said the body of 30-year-old Viktoria Marinova had been found in a park on Saturday.
> Interior minister Mladen Marinov said there was no evidence to suggest the murder was related to Marinova’s work: “It is about rape and murder.” He added that there was no information that she had been threatened.
> Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said: “The best criminologists were sent to Ruse, let’s not press them. A large amount of DNA had been obtained.”
> Ruse regional prosecutor Georgy Georgiev said: “Her death was caused by blows to the head and suffocation, and her mobile phone, car keys, glasses and some of her clothing were missing.” Police are expected to disclose more details on Monday.
Marinova became the third journalist murdered in the EU within a year, The Guardian noted.
She was a board member of the Ruse-based TV station TVN and presented a current affairs talk show called “Detector”, on which she recently covered the corruption investigation.
> The first episode of the show on 30 September broadcast interviews with investigative journalists Dimitar Stoyanov from the Bivol.bg website and Attila Biro from the Romanian Rise Project, about an investigation into alleged fraud involving EU funds linked to big businessmen and politicians.
> The pair were briefly detained by police while attempting to stop the destruction of documents linked to the scheme, drawing condemnation from Reporters Without Borders (RSF).
Marinova’s colleagues at the station said her death was a complete shock and that there had been no evidence she might be in danger.
> Bivol.bg owner Asen Yordanov however told AFP that his media had received credible information that its journalists were in danger of being assaulted because of the investigation that also appeared on Marinova’s show.
> “Viktoria’s death, the brutal manner in which she was killed, is an execution. It was meant to serve as an example, something like a warning,” Yordanov added.