“A brutal and dreadful murder.”
That is how the German government is describing the slaying of Viktoria Marinova, a 30-year-old Bulgarian TV journalist whose body was found beaten, raped and strangled on Saturday near the Danube River in the northern Bulgarian town of Ruse.
She was discovered near a pedestrian alley in an area with heavy vegetation, according to Bulgarian state media, and initial investigations indicate her cause of death was blows to the head and suffocation.
Mladen Mladenov, the interior minister of Bulgaria, called her murder “exceptionally brutal.”
The woman’s car keys, cell phone, glasses and some of her clothing were missing when her body was located.
At this point, officials are uncertain if Marinova’s murder is a result of her investigative journalism, as she had been probing fraud involving European Union funds.
She is the third reporter in the E.U. to be murdered in the past year.
In October in Malta, Daphne Caruana Galizia, who investigated corruption, was killed in a car bombing. Then in February, Jan Kuciak and his fiancee were shot dead in Slovakia in a case tied to his reports on tax evasion.
“First Malta, then Slovakia, now Bulgaria. It is unacceptable that in Europe journalists are getting killed again,” said Sven Giegold, a German member of the Greens in the European Parliament, according to the Associated Press.
The Committee to Protect Journalists is urging police in Bulgaria to conduct a “rigorous, thorough investigation” into Marinova’s case.
“CPJ is shocked by the barbaric murder of journalist Victoria Marinova,” CPJ European Union Representative Tom Gibson in Brussels told CNN. “Bulgarian authorities must employ all efforts and resources to carry out an exhaustive inquiry and bring to justice those responsible.”
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