Brutal Murder of Bulgarian Journalist Could Still Prove to Be Contract Killing, Lawyer Cautions

Brutal Murder of Bulgarian Journalist Could Still Prove to Be Contract Killing, Lawyer Cautions

Bulgaria’s leadership has given out a sigh of relief after they found grounds to believe that the murder of TV journalist Viktoria Marinova was “just” a criminal offense, the lawyer points out.

The brutal murder of Bulgarian TV journalist Viktoria Marinova could still turn out to be connected with her work in spite of indications that the arrested suspect had only criminal motives, a Bulgarian lawyer has commented.

Marinova, a TV journalist and the Director of the regional private TVN channel, was raped and killed last Saturday around midday while jogging along the Danube River in the city of Ruse in Northeast Bulgaria.

The suspect for Marinova’s murder, a 21-year-old man named Severin Krasimirov, was arrested in Germany where he allegedly fled to stay with his mother after the crime.

Marinova’s murder occurred shortly after her TV show, “Detector”, had shown a report about large-scale corruption case involving EU funds and the arrests of two investigative journalists from Bulgaria and Romania by the Bulgarian police.

The case involving a company called GP Group had been dug up by Bulgarian investigative journalism site Bivol.bg but the country’s main media seem to have chosen to remain mostly silent about it. That is why its extensive coverage by Marinova’s regional TV station was notable.

What is more, the next edition of Marinova’s TV was set to air a report into the causes of a freight train explosion in the northeastern town of Hitrino which killed 7 people and injured 29. According to Bivol’s investigations, the Hitrino explosion was also the result of high-level corruption involving the respective freight company.

Marinova’s murder quickly made global headlines as there were suspicions that it might have been connected with her work. Bulgaria’s authorities have been seeking to dispel such suspicions, all the more so after the arrest of the suspect in Germany.

On Friday, the German police in the state of Lower Saxony announced that the suspect, a boxer with a criminal record who was under the influence of drugs and alcohol, had admitted to the murder but denied the rape charges.

The investigation of the Bulgarian authorities, however, found that that the victim was raped twice even though she had most probably suffocated to death on her own blood after the suspect broke her nose and then gagged her.

Commenting on Marinova’s murder on Saturday, Georgi Bogdanov, a prominent Sofia-based lawyer, said the version that the crime might have still been a contract killing.

“We don’t know yet if the murder was committed because of Mrs. Marinova’s murder. The killer’s motives are yet to become known… This could still prove to be a contract killing, an assassination,” Bogdanov told bTV.

“We have now been too quick to decide that this was only a criminal offense that didn’t have to do with her work,” he said.

“There has been a sigh of relief on part of the [Bulgarian] politicians: ‘Phew, we’ve found a criminal offense, we won’t be scolded by our superiors in Europe.’ And thus there has been a strong bombardment [of the public] by those in power, ‘See, we here don’t kill journalists,’” the lawyer elaborated.

He blamed Marinova’s murder on the abject failure of the Bulgarian authorities in a wide range of areas.

“A 20-year-old person was systematically abusing alcohol and drugs, and that went unnoticed. Somebody was supposed to notice it. [In Bulgaria], we have the so called “Roma quarters” which are more and more becoming encapsulated communities [out of reach for the authorities], with bizarre religions, drugs, and mothers aged 10-11,” the lawyer said, referring to the suspect in Marinova’s murder.

Viktoria Marinova was buried in her hometown of Ruse on Saturday, a week after she was brutally raped and killed near the Danube.

(Banner image: TVN)

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