Published: Wed, October 10, 2018
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Viktoria Marinova: Arrest over Bulgarian journalist's murder

Viktoria Marinova: Arrest over Bulgarian journalist's murder

Marinova, who was a board member of the Ruse-based TV station TVN - one of the most popular TV channels in north-eastern Bulgaria - had reported on an investigation into alleged corruption involving European Union funds.

Bulgarian police questioned a Romanian man about the murder of TV journalist Viktoria Marinova on Tuesday but released him without charge and the country remains under global pressure to solve the crime. "We're still checking his alibi", Teodor Atanasov, police commissioner in the city of Ruse, northern Bulgaria, told journalists.

Romanian police confirmed on Tuesday night that a Romanian citizen detained for questioning in the case of TV journalist Viktoria Marinova's slaying was released by authorities in Bulgaria.

The body of 30-year-old Viktoria Marinova was found on Saturday near a pedestrian alley in an area with heavy vegetation, Bulgarian state media reported.

Her mobile phone, keys, glasses, and some of her clothes were missing, prosecutors say.

An episode of her programme aired on September 30 featured interviews with two investigative journalists from Bulgaria and Romania who had been working on corruption allegations.

Marinova was a director of TVN, a small TV station in Ruse, and a TV presenter for two investigative programs.

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The two investigative journalists, Attila Biro and Dimitar Stoyanov, were themselves arrested in September while looking into the case, in a country that ranks lowest of any European Union member in the Press Freedom Index.

Speaking under the condition of anonymity, a TVN journalist told Agence-France Presse, "We are in shock".

Officials and the police said there was no evidence to suggest Ms Marinova's murder was related to her work and there was no information to say she had been threatened. "In no way, under any form, never have we received any threats - aimed at her or the television".

Marinova is the third journalist to be murdered in Europe in the past 12 months after Jan Kuciak in Slovakia in February and Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta in October 2017.

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

He said: "Viktoria's death, the brutal manner in which she was killed, is an execution".

Led by the anticorruption group BOETS, the demonstrators pledged to continue protesting daily until the journalist's killer is found. "It was meant to serve as an example, something like a warning".

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