Bulgarian man charged with murder of TV journalist Viktoria Marinova

Bulgarian man charged with murder of TV journalist Viktoria Marinova

Bulgarian officials said Wednesday authorities have arrested a suspect in the rape and murder of journalist Viktoria Marinova.

"At this stage, we do not believe that the murder is linked" to Marinova's work, Tsatsarov said. "He has been charged in absence for two crimes - rape and premeditated murder with extreme cruelty", Tsatsarov said.

On her last TV show, on September 30, Marinova introduced two journalists who were investigating suspected corruption involving European Union funds and said her own show, "Detector", on local television station NTV, would carry out similar investigations. Marinova's body was found in a park near the river in her hometown, Ruse, on Saturday.

Interior Minister Mladen Marinov later confirmed to journalists that the victim had also been raped.

No link has been established to her work so far and Borissov criticized Bulgarians who he said had rushed to mention Bulgaria along with Malta and Slovakia, where journalists had been killed recently for their work.

The murder case has shocked fellow journalists and sparked global condemnation, with Ms Marinova now the third European reporter to have been killed in the past year. Caruana Galizia was killed in a auto bombing in October in Malta and Jan Kuciak was murdered in Slovakia in February.

Following the murder, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov expressed hope the perpetrator would be found.

"In just three days, I've read monstrous things about Bulgaria".

"We, as a country, did not deserve to be smeared like this. while everyone has been working [to solve the crime] not 100, but 1,000 percent".

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European Commission vice president Frans Timmermans had been among the first to suspect a political motive.

The Marinova's murder is the second attack on a journalist in the past one month itself. Again a courageous journalist falls in the fight for truth and against corruption.

Bulgarian authorities are requesting his extradition, she said.

Her death has shocked and angered many in Bulgaria, where people are frustrated with corruption and an inefficient judiciary that has been criticized by the European Commission.

The RSF World Press Freedom Index also states that there is a "growing animosity towards journalists".

And the UN's cultural agency, UNESCO, similarly said that "attacks on journalists erode the fundamental human right to freedom of expression and its corollaries, press freedom and free access to information".

"With enormous pain and insurmountable grief the team of TVN television is experiencing the loss of our beloved colleague, Victoria Marinova", TVN said in a statement.

Thousands of Bulgarians held commemorations on Monday evening with the largest crowds turning out in Ruse where the crime took place, according to Balkan Insight.

"We call for police protection to be provided for the TVN journalists who worked with Viktoria Marinova on the same sensitive report, pending the outcome of the investigation", he added.

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