Suspect in Bulgarian journalist slaying arrested in Germany

10 October, 2018, 17:49 | Author: Carlos George
  • People take part in a vigil in memory of murdered Bulgarian TV journalist Viktoria Marinova in Sofia Oct. 8 2018.                        Getty

"We're still checking his alibi so he is not officially a suspect for committing the crime yet", Ruse police chief commissioner Teodor Atanasov told journalists.

Authorities are now saying, however, that the motive was likely sexual assault, not an attack on a journalist, although the investigation is ongoing.

A portrait of slain television reporter Viktoria Marinova is placed on the Liberty Monument next to flowers and candles during a vigil in Ruse, Bulgaria, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018.

Viktoria Marinova's body was found on Saturday in a park in the northern city of Ruse, near the River Danube. Both Kuciak and Caruana Galizia were also known for their work exposing corruption.

She was a presenter on a current affairs talk programme called Detector, which had recently aired an interview with two Bulgarian investigative journalists exploring alleged fraud involving European Union funds and prominent businessmen and politicians.

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov (center) speaks next to chief prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov (right) and Interior Minister Mladen Marinov in Sofia on October 10.

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.

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Marinova's killing was widely-condemned on Twitter by fellow journalists and watchdog groups. Margaritis Schinas, spokesman for European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, said Monday that the commission expected "a swift and thorough investigation. that will bring those responsible to justice and clarify whether this attack was linked to her work".

Bulgarian law enforcement is investigating all possible theories, but has warned people not to jump to groundless conclusions.

According to news reports, it is not yet clear whether her death was directly related to her journalistic work, but national authorities are reportedly carrying out a murder investigation.

Ms Marinova was a director of TVN, a small TV station, and a TV presenter for two investigative programmes.

The 30-year-old journalist told him she was working on an investigation but didn't feel anxious about her safety and had not received threats.

The two men were briefly detained on 13 September south of the capital Sofia, as they investigated a tip where documents connected to suspected fraud involving European Union funds were being shredded and destroyed.

Borissov said journalists in Bulgaria had "total freedom to write and report on any topic". "The German prosecutor has arrested the suspect, they will then assess how to proceed", Tsatsarov said.

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