Suspect Arrested in Killing of Bulgarian Journalist

Holding a poster of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi a man stands near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul

"We think they are trying to hide something", said Atanas Chobanov, editor of the Bulgarian investigative site "Bivol".

In a shocking development, a 30-year-old Bulgarian journalist, Viktoria Marinova - who recently took over as anchor of a talk show focused on investigative reporting - was raped and killed on Saturday.

It was not clear whether the murder was linked to Marinova's journalistic activities, Balkan Insight reported.

Bulgarian authorities are under mounting pressure at home and in Brussels to bring to justice those responsible for the brutal killing of the journalist Viktoria Marinova, who was reporting on alleged corruption.

While Marinova wasn't closely involved in the fraud investigation, Bulgaria, which joined the European Union in 2007, was ranked 71st on Transparency International's corruption list previous year.

The European Commission and the German government have joined a number of worldwide journalism organizations in condemning - and calling for an independent investigation into - the killing of Victoria Marinova, a local TV journalist in the town of Ruse, northern Bulgaria. The journalists - Dimitar Stoyanov, from the Bulgarian website Bivol, and Atilla Biro, a Romanian journalist from the Rise Project - were briefly detained by local authorities in mid-September.

In what would be her final show to air, Marinova addressed the constraints of practicing journalism in her country. A Bulgarian investigative online media site went even further, calling for an independent global inquiry, saying that a Bulgarian probe could be compromised by corrupt Bulgarian officials.

Police sources told AFP that the crime did not immediately appear to be linked to her work. The country's top investigators have been sent to Ruse to work on the case.

Police in Bulgaria are investigating the killing of investigative reporter Viktoria Marinova.

"All versions" regarding the murder were on the table, the vice-director of the local police, Ilian Enchev, told the press.

Several months ago, she became the host of an investigative program called Detector.

Bulgarian Interior Minister Mladen Marinov later confirmed that the victim had also been raped.

In addition, Swedish journalist Kim Wall was tortured and murdered during a private submarine trip in August 2017.

In October 2017, Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed by a auto bomb near her home.

The crime has sparked worldwide outcry, with condemnation from the OSCE and the Committee to Protect Journalists. Slovak journalist Jan Kuciak was shot dead along with his fiancee in February after he reported on corrupt ties between Slovak officials and Italian mobsters. Kuciak was investigating tax fraud.

Bulgaria is ranked 111 out of 180 countries in the Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom index. That's lower than any other member of the EU.

The killing turns the spotlight not only on Bulgaria - which is ranked 111th in the world for press freedom, the lowest of any European Union state - but also non-EU states including Ukraine Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia.

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