Bulgaria detains suspect over killing of journalist


A portrait of slain television reporter Viktoria Marinova is placed on the Liberty Monument next to flowers and candles during a vigil in Ruse, Bulgaria, Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Her body was discovered by authorities on Saturday in a park near the river in the northern town of Ruse, where her TV station is based. Both Kuciak and Caruana Galizia were also known for their work exposing corruption. In August 2017, Swedish freelance journalist Kim Wall was reported missing and found murdered in October when she was researching a story on Danish inventor Peter Madsen.

Marinova, who served as a member of the management team of the private television station TVN, hosted a show last month featuring two journalists who had investigated suspected fraud involving European Union funds linked to businessmen and politicians in Bulgaria.

Bulgarian prosecutors announced on Monday night that they have started a probe into the alleged embezzlement of European Union funds by GP Group, a construction company that the two investigative reporters were researching.

Interior Minister Mladen Marinov and Bulgaria's leading organized crime investigator, Ivaylo Spiridonov, are part of the investigating team.

Journalists' groups and foreign officials, including Harlem Desir, the media freedom representative of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, have demanded a "full and thorough investigation" into Ms Marinova's death.

Bulgarian law enforcement is investigating all possible theories, but has warned people not to jump to groundless conclusions.

Chief Prosecutor Tsatsarov told the news conference that he could not say at this stage if the murder was linked to Marinova's work as a journalist.

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The brutal killing of 30-year-old Viktoria Marinova - who presented a current affairs talk programme called "Detector" for the small TVN television channel - shocked the country and drew global condemnation.

Police said the 30-year-old journalist was brutally beaten, raped, and strangled.

"We have detained a man".

The minister said investigators had spoken to Marinova's family and friends and that there was "no apparent link" to Marinova's work as a journalist.

The man, described as a Bulgarian national between the ages of 20 and 30, had left Bulgaria on Sunday for Germany, where his mother is believed to live.

Bulgarian authorities filed charges against the man and were expecting Germany to transfer him to Bulgaria, the minister added.

The Interior Ministry of the German state of Lower Saxony confirmed that a 20-year old suspect has been arrested in the city of Stade in the home of relatives' on Tuesday night and was due to be brought before a magistrate on Wednesday.