Police detain Romanian over murder of Bulgarian journalist Viktoria Marinova

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RUSE, Bulgaria — Bulgarian police have detained a Romanian citizen of Ukrainian origin for 24 hours and were checking his alibi as they investigated the rape and murder of TV anchor Viktoria Marinova, whose body was found in a park in her Danube hometown of Ruse.

“We have in custody a person whose alibi we are checking, but for the time being we do not have a concrete suspect. Work with him is continuing,” the head of Danube regional police in Ruse, Teodor Atanasov, told reporters.

A government source familiar with the investigation had told Reuters earlier that a suspect had been detained.

Prosecutors are expected to hold a news conference later in the day as international pressure mounts on authorities.

Image: Bulgarian television journalist Viktoria Marinova
Bulgarian television journalist Viktoria Marinova.AFP – Getty Images file

On her last aired TV show, on Sept. 30, Marinova introduced two journalists who were investigating alleged corruption involving EU funds. She said her regional current affairs show, “Detector,” would carry out similar investigations.

Although no link has been established to Marinova’s work, her death has angered many in the Balkans country where people are frustrated with rampant corruption and an inefficient judiciary, for which Bulgaria has been criticized by the European Commission.

Prosecutors have said the 30-year-old journalist, who was a presenter and anchor at a local television station, had been raped, beaten and suffocated. Her body was found on Saturday.

The U.S. embassy in Sofia tweeted that it was shocked by the journalist’s “horrific murder”.

“U.S. is ready to help authorities if needed to bring the perpetrators to justice,” it said.



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