Bulgaria probes EU funds misuse after slaying of journalist

Geneva Stokes
October 10, 2018

Bulgaria's chief prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov named the suspect as Severin Krasimirov, born in 1997, and said he was already sought in connection with another rape and murder.

Bulgaria's government said there was no evidence the killing was linked to Marinova's journalism for local television station TVN, "but her death has drawn global condemnation and press freedom campaigners have expressed fears of a cover-up", says The Independent.

The brutal killing of the Bulgarian journalist Victoria Marinova has drawn worldwide condemnation and calls from media watchdogs for a comprehensive global investigation.

The murder, preceded by the brutal rape, beating and strangling of the victim, caused ripples across Bulgaria on Sunday as well as a vocal global reaction. Worldwide, at least 48 journalists have been killed doing their work in 2018, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, an organization that promotes press freedom.

In another high-profile case, journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva broke news previous year that large caches of U.S., Saudi, and Bulgarian weapons were secretly being shipped to Syria.

"Her death was caused by blows to the head and suffocation, and her mobile phone, auto keys, glasses and some of her clothing were missing", Georgi Georgiev, Ruse's regional prosecutor, told reporters.

Viktoria Marinova, a 30-year-old Bulgarian journalist who had recently become the anchor of a talk show focused on investigative reporting, was raped and killed on Saturday in a case that has sent shockwaves through Europe. Urgently call for a full and thorough investigation.

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A Bulgarian investigative reporter has become the third journalist to be murdered in the European Union this year, part of a wider trend that has seen press freedom increasingly under attack across the continent. A Maltese investigative reporter was killed in a vehicle bomb in October previous year, and a Slovak journalist was shot dead in February.

Journalist Tsvetomir Semov reported from Sofia and CNN's Claudia Otto from Berlin.

She was also raped.

Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who investigated local government corruption, was killed in October 2017 by a auto bomb. Earlier, in February 2018, Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée were shot dead as Kuciak was investigating fraud involving businessmen with Slovak political ties, and suspected mafia links of Italians with businesses in Slovakia.

Bulgaria ranked the lowest for press freedom than any other European Union member country, according to the 2018 Reporters Without Borders (RSF) index on press freedom. While no evidence of a motive has appeared at this time, local law enforcement is not ruling out the possibility that her death is connected to her journalistic work.

News agency reports about the killing were carried on several prominent worldwide media, which cited other murders of journalists in European countries in 2018. "Those responsible should be brought to justice immediately by the Bulgarian authorities", he said.

Bulgarian media reported Monday that the park where Marinova was killed is adjacent to a psychiatric facility and authorities were investigating whether a patient could have been Marinova's attacker.

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