WASHINGTON—Following the brutal rape and murder of Bulgarian journalist Victoria Marinova, whose body was discovered in Ruse, Bulgaria, on October 6, Helsinki Commission Chairman Sen. Roger Wicker (MS) issued the following statement:
“I am disturbed by Victoria Marinova’s death, and I join the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media in calling for a thorough investigation of this heinous attack. Over the past several months, journalists in Bulgaria routinely have been victimized because of their work. Ms. Marinova’s death once again puts the spotlight on the nexus of corruption and the safety of journalists.”
Prior to her death, Marinova was reportedly investigating corruption and fraud related to EU structural funds.
On September 13, two Bulgarian journalists were detained by Bulgarian police at gunpoint when they tried to follow up on a tip that an EU-funded company they were investigating for corruption was removing and destroying computers and archives. Bulgaria’s ombudswoman Maya Manolova called the detention “unlawful and without sufficient grounds.”
On May 10, Khristo Geshov, a journalist from Cherven Bryag, was severely beaten in front of his home.
Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007 subject to a “Cooperation and Verification Mechanism” intended to ensure continued improvement regarding judicial reform and combating corruption and organized crime.