Bulgarian investigative journalist killed, authorities say

Bulgarian television journalist Viktoria Marinova's body was found in a park

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.

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

She had interviewed the reporters behind the story, investigative journalists Dimitar Stoyanov from the Bivol.bg website and Attila Biro from the Romanian Rise Project. In August 2017, Swedish freelance journalist Kim Wall was reported missing and found murdered in October when she was researching a story on Danish inventor Peter Madsen. She had been beaten, raped and strangled, according to local media.

Germany called Bulgarian law-enforcement authorities to carry out "a quick and comprehensive investigation" into Marinova's murder, stated Deputy spokesperson of German Foreign Ministry Christofer Burger on October 8.

The organisation says investigative journalists in the country "are often subjected to pressure, from mere warnings to intimidation and physical assaults on themselves or their property".

The pair were briefly detained by police, drawing condemnation from Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

Prosecutor General Sotir Tsatsarov concurred.

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"All versions" regarding the murder were on the table, the vice director of local police, Ilian Enchev, said.

People who worked with Marinova said otherwise. Authorities are working to identify witnesses and potential motives for her murder. She promised that her recently launched current affairs show "Detector" would do more of its own investigations.

"Physical attacks and death threats against journalists by criminal groups are especially common in Bulgaria", said Reporters Without Borders, which compiles the World Press Freedom index.

She had been reporting on this ongoing investigation over the a year ago.

Bulgarian media reported Monday that the park where Marinova was killed is adjacent to a psychiatric facility and authorities were investigating whether a patient could have been Marinova's attacker.

Interior Minister Mladen Marinov has said that there was no evidence to suggest a link to Marinova's work as journalist so far - something echoed by police and prosecutors.

Marionva, a former lifestyle journalist, was a television presenter for TVN, a popular channel in northeastern Bulgaria.

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"It is about rape and murder", he said.

Marinova is the fourth high-profile journalist to be killed in Europe since the beginning of 2017.

In another high-profile case, journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva broke news a year ago that large caches of U.S., Saudi, and Bulgarian weapons were secretly being shipped to Syria.

Only one segment of the relaunched program aired before her death. That's lower than any other member of the EU.

Ms Marinova is the third journalist to have been murdered in the European Union in a year. "She wanted to make investigative reporting", he said. "I will closely follow the investigation opened by the authorities".

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

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