A Bulgarian journalist who reported on an investigation into alleged corruption, involving European Union (EU) funds, has been murdered in the Danube town of Ruse, authorities said on Sunday, in a case that has shocked fellow journalists and sparked worldwide condemnation.
"It is about rape and murder", Interior Minister Mladen Marinov told reporters.
Authorities earlier revealed that Marinova had been killed by blows to the head and from suffocation and has also been raped.
Bulgarian TV journalist Viktoria Marinova.
The OSCE's media freedom representative Harlem Desir condemned Marinova's killing on Twitter: "Shocked by the horrific murder of investigative journalist Victoria Marinova in #Bulgaria".
In the week before her murder, Marinova presented a TV show that broadcast interviews with reporters from the Bivol website on alleged fraud involving European Union funds linked to businessmen and politicians.
EURACTIV has reported about this corruption case in November 2015.
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The pair were briefly detained by police, drawing condemnation from Reporters Without Borders (RSF). "We can not downplay any possibility and any version, but if you are investigating the killing, you are looking for a motive", he said.
He said: "It is about rape and murder".
Marinova was a director of TVN, a small TV station in Ruse, and a TV presenter for two investigative programs.
Hundreds of mourners, some tearful, placed candles, her portrait and roses - the national flower- at the foot of a monument in the town of Ruse on Monday night.
The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Bulgarian authorities to conduct a "rigorous, thorough investigation" into the killing. Wall was killed and mutilated after boarding Madsen's homemade submarine to do an interview.
In October 2017, Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed by a auto bomb near her home, while in February this year Slovakian journalist Jan Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kusnirova were shot dead. In February, Ján Kuciak, a 27-year-old investigative reporter, and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová, were shot dead in their home, 40 miles from Bratislava. Kuciak was investigating tax fraud.
As The Guardian noted, Bulgaria was ranked 111 of 180 countries in this year's Reporters Without Borders world press freedom index.
Transparency International, a global corruption watchdog, has identified Bulgaria as the most corrupt member state in the EU.
Dujarric told reporters at United Nations headquarters in NY "there's been a very worrying increase of violence, sexual and otherwise, that's particularly targeting women journalists".