Bulgaria: Journalist Viktoria Marinova Found Raped and Murdered

A candlelight vigil in Marinova's memory is organised for Monday evening in Sofia

Bulgarian journalist-a rassledovatel Victoria Marinova, about the murder which security forces reported on October 7, before her death, was raped.

Marinova was a board member for television station TVN based in Ruse.

"Corrupt institutions can arrest you on an ID check, start criminal or tax investigations against you, scare you in interviews, or even have you fired".

Interior Minister Mladen Marinov said today that there is no evidence to suggest the killing was linked to Ms Marinova's work.

The murder, preceded by the brutal rape, beating and strangling of the victim, caused ripples across Bulgaria on Sunday as well as a vocal global reaction.

Prosecutors are probing both "personal and professional" leads in the investigation into her death.

Mourning vigils to honor Marinova are to be held in the capital Sofia and other towns across the country later on Monday.

The Bulgarian government has indicated Marinova's attack was not about her work. But Bulgarian authorities are trying to downplay this part of the story.

It is not clear if Marinova's murder was related to her journalistic work. The horrific indent is the third murder of a journalist in the European Union amid concerns over press freedom. She frequently hosted Romanian journalists who were investigating alleged corruption among European Union politicians and businessmen.

The police have said they are looking into all possible motives but the founder of Bivol.bg, whose reporters were on Marinova's last show, said he feared authorities were downplaying the likelihood of links to her work.

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

Victoria Marinova had been reporting on corruption.

Police are expected to disclose more details about the murder on Monday.

The German government also sharply condemned the slaying, with the Foreign Ministry saying it's imperative "that there's a fast investigation and that this frightful event will be illuminated as comprehensively as possible".

Jourova and MEPs have visited Malta and Slovakia to keep an eye on police enquiries, but no one has been brought to justice yet. Bulgarian media said that the relationship between the divorcees was normal and there was no tension between them.

Kuciak's murder came several months after one of Malta's best-known investigative journalists, Caruana Galizia, 53, was killed when a bomb blew up her auto.

In October 2017, Daphne Caruana Galiza, a Maltese journalist known for exposing high level corruption, was murdered by a bomb placed on her auto. Kuciak's reporting and his slaying brought down the Slovak government.

In August 2017, Kim Wall, a Swedish freelance journalist, was murdered by Danish inventor Peter Madsen.

Earlier this year, the government refused to ratify the Istanbul Convention, a Council of Europe initiative aiming to battle and prevent violence against women, after Bulgaria's constitutional court ruled that the convention contradicted the country's constitution.

Teodora Barzakova in Ruse, Bulgaria, and Alison Mutler in Bucharest, Romania, contributed.

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