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Bulgarians mourn murdered journalist, European Union calls for fast inquiry

09 October 2018
Bulgarians mourn murdered journalist, European Union calls for fast inquiry

According to a Deutsche Welle report, regional prosecutor Georgy Georgiev said preliminary investigations show Marinova suffered blunt force trauma to the head and was suffocated.

Marinova was a presenter with the TVN broadcaster for the show "Detektor".

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The 30-year-old journalist's body was reportedly found in a park on the banks of the Danube on Saturday.

Police said the journalist, who presented two investigative programs on the town's TV station, was brutally beaten, raped and strangled.

On her last aired TV show, as an anchor, on September 30, Marinova introduced two journalists who were investigating alleged corruption involving European Union funds.

Prime Minister Boyko Borissov said that the country's best investigators have been put on the case.

CPJ reported that the two reporters were detained by Bulgarian police in September.

Chief Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov said a bank transfer of 14 million euros ($16.06 million) had been frozen as part of a pre-trial investigation into issues raised by the investigative journalists on the show but declined to give further details.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said it was "shocked by the barbaric murder".

Several hundred people, many in tears, attended a vigil in Ruse's central square, lighting candles and laying flowers in front of a portrait of Marinova. Last month she began anchoring a program called "Detector", which focused on political investigations.

In October in Malta, Daphne Caruana Galizia, who investigated corruption, was killed in a auto bombing.

Harlem Desir, the media freedom representative for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, demanded a "full and thorough investigation" of Marinova's slaying.

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

Interior Minister Mladen Marinov talking to reporters claimed that it was a rape and murder case and had nothing to do with her work as there are no evidence and no information that she had received threats. "It was meant to serve as an example, something like a warning", Asen Yordanov, the owner of Bulgarian news website Bivol.bg, which had worked with her on the European Union fraud report, told the AFP news agency.

Frans Timmermans, commission vice-president, said he was "shocked by the horrendous murder of Victoria [sic] Marinova".

He quoted Juncker as saying previously that "too many" journalists are being intimidated, attacked or murdered and "there is no democracy without a free press".

Marinova's death was quickly condemned by European leaders. Kuciak had been investigating alleged political corruption at the time. That's lower than any other member of the EU.

Reporters Without Borders warned in 2017 about a suspected murder plot against a Bulgarian publisher, Georgi Ezekiev. And in February, Jan Kuciak, a Slovakian journalist who also reported on government corruption, was shot and killed along with his fiancee, Martina Kusnirova.

Giegold said, "First Malta, then Slovakia, now Bulgaria".