Bulgarian journalist killed after reporting on corruption

Bulgarian police are investigating the rape and slaying of a female television reporter whose body was dumped near the Danube River after she reported on the possible misuse of European Union funds in Bulgaria.

Authorities discovered the body of 30-year-old Viktoria Marinova in the northern town of Ruse near the Romanian border. Police said she had been raped, beaten and strangled and her body was found in a park near the river. Marinova was a director of TVN, a small TV station in Ruse, and a TV presenter for two investigative programs.

Journalists’ groups and foreign officials expressed shock. Harlem Desir, the media freedom representative for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, demanded a “full and thorough investigation” of Marinova’s slaying. A Bulgarian investigative online media site went further, calling for an independent international inquiry and saying corruption could compromise an investigation by Bulgarian law enforcement.

Bulgarian Interior Minister Mladen Marinov insisted there was no evidence to suggest the killing was linked to Marinova’s work. “It is about rape and murder,” he said. Chief Public Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov, on a trip to Ruse, said authorities had no new leads on a motive.

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