Viktoria Marinova: man held in Germany over death of Bulgarian journalist
A Bulgarian man has been detained in Germany on suspicion of the rape and murder of the television journalist Viktoria Marinova, Bulgaria’s chief prosecutor has said.
Authorities in Bulgaria said an arrest warrant was being issued for the 21-year-old man, who would be charged in absentia with rape and murder.
The body of Marinova, 30, who reported on an investigation into alleged corruption involving EU funds, was found in the border town of Ruse, on the Danube, at the weekend. She disappeared after going for a run by the river on Saturday.
Bulgaria’s prosecutor general, Sotir Tsatsarov, confirmed the arrest of a man, whom his office named as Severin Krasimirov, a Bulgarian citizen.
The country’s interior minister, Mladen Marinov, said there was physical evidence to link Krasimirov to the murder. Krasimirov, a resident of Ruse, had a criminal record for scrap metal theft, he said. The minister said investigators had spoken to the journalist’s family and friends and added: “There is no apparent link to her work.”
Marinova was the third journalist to be killed in an EU country within a year. The death has reopened debates about the dangers of reporting, as well as the particular threats faced by female journalists. Authorities have said they are investigating all possibilities, but say they are cautious about linking the murder to Marinova’s journalism.
On Tuesday afternoon, Bulgarian police announced a Romanian citizen had been detained, but later said there was no apparent connection with the case and he would be released.
Later, Bulgarian media reported that a man had been arrested in Germany and said statements from high-level officials were expected on Wednesday.
Marinova worked for TVN, a small regional channel based in Ruse, and was involved in a new show called Detektor. The first episode, which also turned out to be the last, featured interviews with two investigative journalists working on a corruption investigation into misuse of EU funds, led by the Bulgarian investigative outlet Bivol.
Bulgaria was ranked 111 out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders world press freedom index this year, lower than any other EU member state and lower than other countries in the western Balkans, some of which are candidates for EU membership.
A portrait of Viktoria Marinova lies next to flowers at the Liberty Monument in Ruse, Bulgaria.