Bulgaria detains suspect over killing of journalist

Sergio Conner
October 10, 2018

Bulgarian national radio, citing what it said was unconfirmed information from Interior Ministry sources it did not name, earlier reported that "a Romanian citizen with a passport from Moldova" had been detained.

Marinova was not directly involved in the investigation, but her report on the two journalists touched on a sensitive topic in Bulgaria, which is seen as the most corrupt European Union member state.

Bulgarian authorities said Tuesday no charges will be laid against a man taken into custody in connection with the slaying of Bulgarian television reporter Viktoria Marinova, whose body was found barely a week after she highlighted possible government corruption.

Authorities discovered the body of 30-year-old Viktoria Marinova on Saturday in the northern town of Ruse near the Romanian border. Joining the bloc opened an enormous spigot of possible new European Union funding for Bulgarian infrastructure projects or other programs created to bring the nation up to European Union standards. Bulgarian Interior Minister Mladen Marinov insisted Monday there was no evidence to suggest the killing was linked to Marinova's work.

While Marinova did not appear to have been closely involved in the fraud investigation, her show touched on a sensitive subject in Bulgaria, where corruption is endemic.

Atanassov told reporters that the man had not been named a suspect in the murder. "It is about rape and murder, " he said. "In no way, under any form, never have we received any threats - aimed at her or the television".

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Journalists' groups and foreign officials expressed shock.

Bulgarian police, however, said they are considering all possible scenarios and examining possible links to both her personal and professional life.

In a July report on the state of media freedom in Bulgaria, Reporters Without Borders said, "Fortunately, no investigative journalists have been killed in Bulgaria for their work, but there are documented murder plans and attempts, cruel, execution-style, beatings, auto arson and bombs targeting investigative reporters".

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

After her death, prosecutors opened an investigation into GP Group, the private Bulgarian building company that Biro and Stoyanov spotlighted in their report, according to The Associated Press.

United Nations spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was "very concerned" about Marinova's murder, reported Al Jazeera.

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