Man Held In Probe Into Bulgarian Journalist's 'Grisly' Killing

Viktoria Marinova

Bulgarian police investigating the killing of journalist Viktoria Marinova have detained a man.

The detainee holds Romanian citizenship, police said.

Marinova's death also drew worldwide calls for a rapid and resolute action, with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urging governments to ensure "accountability" for crimes against journalists such as the Bulgarian journalist's "grisly murder and rape".

Local people observed a vigil overnight on Monday, where flowers and lit candles were laid in front of her image.

It's not clear if Marinova's murder was related to her journalistic work.

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Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, said attacks on journalists erode fundamental human rights to freedom of expression and press.

Bulgarian media reported that the park where her body was found is adjacent to a psychiatric facility and that authorities were investigating whether a patient could have attacked Marinova, reported The Washington Post.

The attack has shocked the country and drawn worldwide condemnation amid speculation the murder could be linked to Marinova's work as a journalist.

"Again a courageous journalist falls in the fight for truth and against corruption", said Frans Timmermans, vice president of the European Commission.

Marinova was a presenter for a current affairs show called Detector on Ruse-based private television channel TVN, one of the most popular channels in northeastern Bulgaria.

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The first episode, which aired on 30 September, featured interviews with investigative journalists Dimitar Stoyanov from the Bivol.bg website and Attila Biro from the Romanian Rise Project.

Bivol.bg owner Asen Yordanov told AFP that "Viktoria's death, the brutal manner in which she was killed, is an execution".

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. "It was meant to serve as an example, something like a warning". According to the Reporters Without Borders world press freedom index, Bulgaria ranks lower than other European Union member.

And even some of Marinova's fellow journalists were not convinced that she was killed because of her reporting.

Bivol.bg owner Assen Yordanov said he couldn't directly link Marinova's slaying to her work, but noted her show tackled "our very sensitive investigation into the misuse of European Union funds". The journalist said he and his coworkers feared for their safety.

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