Man held in Bulgarian journalist murder probe

People take part in a vigil in memory of murdered Bulgarian TV journalist Viktoria Marinova in Sofia Oct. 8 2018.                        Getty

The body of 30-year-old journalist Viktoria Marinova was found on Saturday in a park in the town of Ruse.

Authorities say Marinova died from blows to the head and suffocation.

Interior Minister Mladen Marinov later confirmed to journalists that the victim had also been raped. "We continue to work on all versions", said Marinov, the Interior Minister.

Local media are reporting another man has been arrested in connection to the crime after attempting to flee to Germany, however police are yet to confirm any further arrests have been made.

He has been identified as 21-year-old Severin Krasimirov, but prosecutors are not yet sure whether the murder was linked to Ms Marinova's work.

Krasimirov has been charged with rape and premeditated murder. "But we are continuing to look at all hypotheses".

Journalists' groups and European leaders expressed shock at Marinova's murder.

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

Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who investigated local government corruption, was killed in October 2017 by a bomb that destroyed her vehicle.

However, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov lashed out at global bodies and rights groups which had been quick to assume a political motive behind the murder.

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AP news agency quoted prosecutors as saying on Monday that they had opened an investigation into the alleged fraud.

"We, as a country, did not deserve to be smeared like this. while everyone has been working [to solve the crime] not 100, but 1,000 percent". "I am convinced it is a matter of time before the murder would be revealed", Borissov said.

Frans Timmermans, vice president of the EU's executive branch, tweeted: "Again a courageous journalist falls in the fight for truth and against corruption".

"This is a topic on which no other Bulgarian national media dared to report on", he told The Associated Press on Monday.

The individual is a "Romanian citizen with a passport from Moldova", according to unconfirmed media reports quoted by The Independent.

Bulgarian authorities are requesting his extradition, she said.

The attack in Ruse has been compared to the recent killings of Maltese and Slovak journalists, who were investigating secret government dealings and fraud.

The Bulgarian government has indicated Marinova's attack was not about her work.

People attend a vigil as a protest against the rape murder of journalist Viktoria Marinova in Sofia, Bulgaria, 2018.

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