Man held in Bulgarian journalist murder probe

Her body was discovered in a park on Saturday

Ruse police chief Teodor Atanasov said the man's alibi was checked and that he was not a suspect.

Authorities are now saying, however, that the motive was likely sexual assault, not an attack on a journalist, although the investigation is ongoing.

A portrait of slain television reporter Viktoria Marinova is placed on the Liberty Monument next to flowers and candles during a vigil in Ruse, Bulgaria, Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Authorities discovered the body of 30-year-old Viktoria Marinova on Saturday in the northern town of Ruse near the Romanian border. In August 2017, Swedish freelance journalist Kim Wall was reported missing and found murdered in October when she was researching a story on Danish inventor Peter Madsen.

Bulgarian media reports said that over the past year Marinova had reported on an ongoing investigation into alleged corruption involving European Union funds for the broadcaster TVN.

Bulgarian prosecutors announced on Monday night that they have started a probe into the alleged embezzlement of European Union funds by GP Group, a construction company that the two investigative reporters were researching.

However, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov lashed out at global bodies and rights groups which had been quick to assume a political motive behind the murder.

Marinova's killing has stunned Bulgaria and sparked an worldwide outcry, with European governments calling for a thorough investigation into her death.

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"CPJ is shocked by the barbaric murder of journalist Victoria Marinova", Tom Gibson, CPJ's European Union representative, said in a statement.

The German government also sharply condemned the slaying, with the Foreign Ministry saying it was imperative "that there's a fast investigation and that this disgusting event will be illuminated as comprehensively as possible".

Bulgarian authorities said they were investigating both professional and personal motifs for her murder.

Marinova, a former lifestyle journalist, had only recently transitioned into her role as the host of a program called "Detector", focused on investigations.

"We have detained a man".

On Monday the town's regional prosecutor, Georgy Georgiev, said Ms Marinova had suffered blows to the head and was suffocated in the fatal attack, adding that her "mobile phone, vehicle keys, glasses and part of her clothes were missing".

Bulgarian media reported that Krassimirov's mother lives in Germany.

Azoulay said, "this is essential to defend freedom of expression and freedom of information in Bulgaria and, not least important, to ensure women's safety, dignity and freedom".

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