Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE DEBATE

Saudi Arabia under pressure: Crown Prince defiant over Khashoggi disappearance

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Biking in Cuba, entrepreneurship in Burundi, and more

Read more

ENCORE!

Music show: NOLA French Connection Brass Band, Yoko Ono & Neneh Cherry

Read more

FOCUS

US Supreme Court decision boosts anti-abortion activists in California

Read more

IN THE PRESS

Beginning of the end for 'Mutti'? State election reflects Merkel's unpopularity

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Spain's Europe minister rules out new Catalan independence referendum

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Hungary's Orban: What consequences of symbolic EU vote?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

South Sudan: How it won the longest war but lost the peace

Read more

Bulgarians bid farewell to murdered journalist

© AFP | A funeral ceremony for murdered Bulgarian journalist Viktoria Marinova was held at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Ruse, northeast Bulgaria. The 30-year-old leaves behind a small child

RUSE (BULGARIA) (AFP) - 

Hundreds of people turned out Friday for the funeral of murdered Bulgarian television journalist, Viktoria Marinova, as authorities said a suspect arrested in Germany would be extradited soon.

In a case that shocked Bulgaria and drew international condemnation, mourners bearing flowers and wreaths flocked to the northern town of Ruse to pay their respects to Marinova, whose body was discovered near a jogging path next to the Danube last Saturday.

Authorities said the 30-year-old -- who leaves a small child -- died from blows to the head and suffocation and had also been raped.

Bulgaria has disputed the immediate assumption by many international bodies and rights groups that the murder was connected with her work.

A 20-year-old Bulgarian suspect, named as Severin Krasimirov, was tracked down and arrested in the northern German town of Stade, near Hamburg, on Tuesday.

And on Friday, a German court said the suspect would "soon" be sent back to Bulgaria, adding that he had said during questioning "that he did not want to kill the victim and denied raping her".

But he admitted to having "a verbal argument with the victim" and "under the strong influence of alcohol and drugs (he) punched the woman in the face, at which point she fell down. He then picked her up and threw her in a bush but said he then left the scene."

A number of Bulgarian TV channels have broadcast interviews with the suspect's mother, Nadezhda Krasimirova, speaking from her home in the German town of Stade, who said her son had confessed to her the killing and was about to give himself up when he was arrested.

- No proof of work-related murder -

Bulgaria's chief prosecutor, Sotir Tsatsarov, said on Wednesday that "at this stage we do not have proof to consider that the murder was related to her professional work."

But he insisted that all possible leads were still being pursued.

"The arrest of the perpetrator does not in any way mean that we will discontinue working on all possible hypotheses for a motive," he said.

After a memorial service attended by friends, colleagues and relatives, Marinova was buried Friday in a small private ceremony in Ruse's cemetery.

Marinova -- who presented a current affairs talk programme on the local TVN television channel -- is the third journalist to be murdered in Europe in the past 12 months after Jan Kuciak in Slovakia in February and Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta in October 2017.

Her last show included interviews with two investigative journalists from Bulgaria and Romania who had been working on allegations of corruption and misuse of EU aid.

Nevertheless, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has dismissed suggestions of a political motive as a smear campaign.

Bulgaria is regarded as a laggard in the EU in terms of press freedom, ranking 111th out of 180 countries, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

© 2018 AFP