Bul­gar­ian slain journo hon­oured

Hun­dreds bid farewell to Mari­nova as cops say sus­pect will be ex­tra­dited

The Star Malaysia - - World -

RUSE ( BULGARIA): Hun­dreds of peo­ple turned out for the fu­neral of mur­dered Bul­gar­ian tele­vi­sion jour­nal­ist, Vik­to­ria Mari­nova, as au­thor­i­ties said a sus­pect ar­rested in Ger­many would be ex­tra­dited soon.

In a case that shocked Bulgaria and drew in­ter­na­tional con­dem­na­tion, mourn­ers bear­ing flow­ers and wreaths flocked to the north­ern town of Ruse to pay their re­spects to Mari­nova, whose body was dis­cov­ered near a jog­ging path next to the Danube last Satur­day.

Au­thor­i­ties said the 30­year­old – who leaves a small child – died from blows to the head and suf­fo­ca­tion and had also been raped.

Bulgaria has dis­puted the im­me­di­ate as­sump­tion by many in­ter­na­tional bod­ies and rights groups that the mur­der was con­nected with her work.

A 20­year­old Bul­gar­ian sus­pect, named as Sev­erin Krasimirov, was tracked down and ar­rested in the north­ern Ger­man town of Stade, near Ham­burg, on Tues­day.

A Ger­man court said on Fri­day the sus­pect would “soon” be sent back to Bulgaria and the Bul­gar­ian jus­tice min­istry added later that the ex­tra­di­tion would take place “next week at the ear­li­est”.

Ac­cord­ing to the Ger­man au­thor­i­ties, the sus­pect had said dur­ing ques­tion­ing “that he did not want to kill the vic­tim and de­nied rap­ing her”.

But he ad­mit­ted to hav­ing “a ver­bal ar­gu­ment with the vic­tim” and “un­der the strong in­flu­ence of al­co­hol and drugs (he) punched the woman in the face, at which point she fell down. He then picked her up and threw her in a bush but said

he then left the scene.”

A num­ber of Bul­gar­ian TV chan­nels have broad­cast in­ter­views with the sus­pect’s mother, Nadezhda Krasimirova, speak­ing from her home in the Ger­man town of Stade, who said her son had con­fessed to her the killing and was about to give him­self up when he was ar­rested.

Bulgaria’s chief prose­cu­tor, Sotir Tsat­sarov, said on Wed­nes­day that

“at this stage, we do not have proof to con­sider that the mur­der was re­lated to her pro­fes­sional work.”

But Tsat­sarov in­sisted that all pos­si­ble leads were still be­ing pur­sued.

“The ar­rest of the per­pe­tra­tor does not in any way mean that we will dis­con­tinue work­ing on all pos­si­ble hy­pothe­ses for a mo­tive,” he said.

Af­ter a memo­rial ser­vice at­tend­ ed by friends, col­leagues and rel­a­tives, Mari­nova was buried on Fri­day in a small pri­vate cer­e­mony in Ruse’s ceme­tery.

Mari­nova – who pre­sented a cur­rent af­fairs talk pro­gramme on the lo­cal TVN tele­vi­sion chan­nel – is the third jour­nal­ist to be mur­dered in Europe in the past 12 months af­ter Jan Ku­ciak in Slo­vakia in Fe­bru­ary and Daphne Caru­ana Gal­izia in Malta in Oc­to­ber 2017.

— AP/AFP

Rest in peace: Peo­ple at­tend­ing a re­li­gious ser­vice for Mari­nova prior to her fu­neral in Ruse, Bulgaria. Inset: A pic­ture of Mari­nova seen at her memo­rial in Holy Trin­ity Cathe­dral in Ruse.

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