Authorities have reported that a popular Bulgarian journalist who had reported on the investigation of the alleged corruption involving European Union funds has been r*ped and beaten with fatal injuries.
The nude body of the 30-year-old Victoria Marinova has been found in a park in Danube town of Ruse, and according to the Federation of European Journalists, she has been beaten with such force that she was almost unrecognizable.
She is the fourth high-profile journalist to be m*rdered in Europe since 2017, and her death comes after the alleged slaying of a Washington Post journalist in Istanbul, in the Saudi consulate.
According to Bulgarian officials, there is no evidence to suggest that the incident was related to her work. Interior Minister Mladen Marinov said:
“It is about r*pe and m*rder,”
People who worked with her, however, said otherwise.
Asen Yordanov, the owner of the news website Bivol.bg, told reporters that he thinks the brutal manner in which Viktoria was k!lled shows that it’s an execution. He thinks that it was meant to serve as an example, or a warning.
Marinova had just recently launched her own new talk show, called “Detector”, and she interviewed two investigative reporters who were recently arrested while looking into corruption involving EU funds in the first episode.
The European Council said that the two reporters, Dimitar Stoyanov and Attila Biro, had uncovered a ‘large scale and wide-spread corruption’ in EU-funded projects in Bulgaria, worth hundreds of millions of euros.
Ricardo Gutierrez, the head of the European Federation of Journalists, has called for enhanced protection for journalists across Europe.
“This is the fourth brutal m*rder of a journalist in a Member State of the European Union since 2017. The k!llers and their sponsors obviously aim to intimidate the entire profession.” – he said in a statement.
Harlem Desir, the media freedom representative of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe called out for a “full and thorough” investigation into Marinova’s case.