Vik­to­ria Mari­nova: man held in Ger­many over death of Bul­gar­ian jour­nal­ist

The Guardian Australia - - World News - Ben Quinn

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.

Pho­to­graph: Filip Dvorski/AP

A por­trait of Vik­to­ria Mari­nova lies next to flow­ers at the Lib­erty Mon­u­ment in Ruse, Bul­garia.

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