Marinova is the third journalist to be murdered in Europe in the past 12 months [File: Stoyan Nenov/Reuters]
A German court has said that a man suspected of the rape and murder of Bulgarian television journalist Viktoria Marinova would be extradited to Bulgaria in the coming days.
Prosecutors said on Friday that the 20-year-old suspect had confessed to the attack but denied raping and robbing her.
“The extradition of the accused can be expected soon,” the superior regional court in Celle said in a statement.
Prosecutors say the suspect, who has been identified in Bulgaria as 21-year-old Severin Krassimirov, confessed to being under the influence of alcohol and drugs when he got into an argument with a woman he did not know in a park.
They say he told them he hit her in the face and threw her into bushes but “denied the intent to kill”.
Viktoria Marinova the latest victim of journalist killings
Prosecutors say Krassimirov, who was apprehended on Tuesday in Germany on a European arrest warrant, will be extradited within the next 10 days.
Bulgarian Interior Minister Mladen Marinov said on Wednesday that investigators had found DNA evidence on the clothes and body of Marinova, who was raped and strangled on Saturday in the northern town of Ruse.
“There is physical evidence to link to the murder,” Marinov said.
He said Krassimirov, a resident of Ruse, had a criminal record for scrap metal theft.
‘A spontaneous attack?’
The minister said investigators had spoken to Marinova’s family and friends and “there is no apparent link to her work.” Tsatsarov, the chief prosecutor, said the evidence suggested it was “a spontaneous attack, not premeditated”.
“We cannot state at this point that her murder is linked to her professional activity. We are continuing to work on all possible options.”
On Tuesday, a Romanian suspect was arrested and later released in connection with the case.
Marinova was killed by blows on the head and suffocation, the authorities said, adding that prosecutors were probing all leads – both personal and linked to Marinova’s job. Her body was found on Saturday in a park.
The Bulgarian interior minister later confirmed to journalists that the victim had also been raped.
The attack has shocked the country and drawn international condemnation amid speculation the murder could be linked to Marinova’s work as a journalist.
An episode of her programme aired on September 30 featured interviews with two investigative journalists from Bulgaria and Romania who had been working on corruption allegations.
She 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.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies