Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Viktoria Marinova killed: Bulgarian journalist's rape and murder was 'a warning'

A candlelight vigil in Marinova's memory is organised for Monday evening in Sofia A candlelight vigil in Marinova's memory is organised for Monday evening in Sofia
Andrew Cummings | 10 October, 2018, 05:04

She had suffered blows to the head and suffocation, Ruse regional prosecutor Georgy Georgiev said.

Prime Minister Boyko Borisov reassured the public in a statement, "it is just a matter of time before the perpetrator is found", citing the amount of evidence recovered by the police.

"We are in shock", the man said, asking not to be named since he was not authorized to speak publicly.

He called on the European Parliament to quickly send a delegation to Bulgaria to help investigate the crime.

The Bulgaria-based Association of European Journalists said reporters from small regional and local media are under particular pressure and even face threats from local businessmen and politicians, often leading to self-censorship.

Through a United Nations spokesperson, Secretary-General António Guterres called on "all governments to strengthen press freedom and ensure there is accountability for crimes committed against journalists".

Prosecutors confirmed she had also been raped and her personal items had been stolen.

Prosecutors said the 30-year-old had been raped, beaten and suffocated.

On the advice of legal counsel, journalists at TVN were not commenting to their colleagues.

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Bulgarian journalists at Zov News and the Bivol website were investigating a drug-trafficking ring suspected of having links to police when they uncovered the alleged plan to murder Ezekiev, who publishes Zov News. "Those responsible must be held to account", Harlem Desir, the media freedom envoy of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said.

Ruse Regional Prosecutor Georgi Georgiev told state media that Marinova's mobile phone, vehicle keys, glasses and part of her clothing were missing when her body was found.

Last October, Daphne Caruana Galizia, Malta's best-known investigative journalist, was killed when a powerful bomb blew up her vehicle and Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak was shot dead in February. Those responsible should be brought to justice immediately by the Bulgarian authorities'.

Police in Bulgaria have arrested a suspect in the rape and murder of a television journalist whose death has been linked to an investigation into the alleged embezzlement of European Union funds. "It was meant to serve as an example, something like a warning", Yordanov added.

The murder was similarly condemned by the European and International Federation of Journalists, both of which said they were deeply shocked by the murder.

However, Marinova's is the third reporter to be killed in Europe in the past year and the incident has once again raised concerns about safety of journalists across the world.

On September 14, Bivol wrote that the day before, Stoyanov and Biro were called by the informer and told that documentation and equipment were being taken out of the headquarters of Bulgarian construction company G.P.Group JSC on a massive scale.

But others have suggested that the brutal killing of an anti-corruption show host in a country known for widespread corruption was perhaps more than a coincidence.

Hundreds of mourners, some tearful, placed candles, her portrait and roses - the national flower- at the foot of a monument in the town of Ruse on Monday night.

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