Vik­to­ria Mari­nova: Ar­rest over Bul­gar­ian jour­nal­ist mur­der

Cyprus Today - - WORLD -

A BUL­GAR­IAN man has been de­tained in Ger­many over the rape and mur­der of tele­vi­sion jour­nal­ist Vik­to­ria Mari­nova, of­fi­cials said on Wed­nes­day, as Prime Min­is­ter Boyko Borissov de­fended his gov­ern­ment’s record on press free­doms.

The sus­pect was iden­ti­fied by Bul­gar­ian au­thor­i­ties as Sev­erin Krasimirov, aged 20, from Ruse, Ms Mari­nova’s home­town where her body was found in a park near Danube River last Satur­day. Krasimirov, who lived near the park, left the coun­try on Sun­day, they said.

Bul­garia has charged him in ab­sen­tia with rape and pre­med­i­tated mur­der with ex­treme cru­elty and Ger­many was ex­pected to ex­tra­dite him for trial in Bul­garia, Chief Prose­cu­tor Sotir Tsat­sarov said.

Ms Mari­nova, a 30-year-old pre­sen­ter on a lo­cal TV sta­tion with a seven-year-old daugh­ter, had been raped, beaten and suf­fo­cated, po­lice said.

On her last TV show, on Septem­ber 30, Ms Mari­nova in­tro­duced two jour­nal­ists who were in­ves­ti­gat­ing sus­pected cor­rup­tion in­volv­ing EU funds and said her own show, De­tec­tor, on lo­cal tele­vi­sion sta­tion NTV, would carry out sim­i­lar in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

No link has been es­tab­lished be­tween the crime and Ms Mari­nova’s work so far.

But her mur­der has all the same re­vived the de­bate over the ex­tent of press free­dom in Bul­garia and the rights of jour­nal­ists to pur­sue investigative re­port­ing.

Bul­garia ranked 111 out of 180 coun­tries in the Re­porters With­out Bor­ders world press free­dom in­dex this year, lower than any other Euro­pean Union mem­ber.

Mr Borissov, speak­ing at a news con­fer­ence, crit­i­cised peo­ple who he said had rushed to men­tion Bul­garia in the same breath as Malta and Slo­vakia, where jour­nal­ists had been killed re­cently for their work.

He said jour­nal­ists in Bul­garia had “to­tal free­dom to write and re­port on any topic” and he de­cried pres­sure on the au­thor­i­ties from abroad over the mur­der. He had sum­moned for­eign am­bas­sadors to Sofia to brief them over the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“We have done all this work in the frame of three days. In the frame of three days I read mon­strous things about Bul­garia and none of it is true,” he said.

Chief Prose­cu­tor Tsat­sarov told the news con­fer­ence that he could not say at this stage if the mur­der was linked to Ms Mari­nova’s work as a jour­nal­ist. The col­lected ev­i­dence so far pointed to a spon­ta­neous at­tack and sex­ual as­sault, he said.

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