The Latest: UN’s Guterres notes violence against journalists

A child holds next to a portrait of slain television reporter Viktoria Marinova during a vigil at the Liberty Monument in Ruse, Bulgaria, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Bulgarian police are investigating the rape, beating and slaying of a female television reporter whose body was dumped near the Danube River after she reported on the possible misuse of European Union funds in Bulgaria. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — The Latest on the rape and slaying of a Bulgarian journalist (all times local):

10:00 p.m.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is calling on governments to ensure “accountability” for crimes against journalists such as the “grisly murder and rape” of Bulgarian TV reporter Viktoria Marinova.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Monday that Guterres was “very concerned” about Marinova’s slaying and awaited the conclusions of the investigation into her killing.

Dujarric told reporters at U.N. headquarters in New York “there’s been a very worrying increase of violence, sexual and otherwise, that’s particularly targeting women journalists.”

He says Dujarric said Guterres is paying “very close attention” to the trend and has raised the issue of violence against journalists with U.N. member states, both privately and publicly.

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9:35 p.m.

Bulgarians have turned out for a vigil to honor a television journalist who was raped and killed in the Danube River town of Ruse after reporting on corruption in Bulgaria

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.

Authorities discovered the body of 30-year-old Viktoria Marinova on Saturday near the river in the northern Bulgarian town. Police said she had been strangled.

Marinova was a director of TVN, a small TV station in Ruse, and a TV presenter for two investigative programs. Her last program examined possible corruption involving European Union funds.

In the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, mourners gathered outside a church. One of them, Kristina Petkov said Bulgarians had “zero” trust in authorities. She says “whatever results the investigation (into Marinova’s death) shows, people won’t believe them.”

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6:05 p.m.

The European Union says the investigation of the slaying of a Bulgarian television journalist must be meticulous and undertaken quickly.

European Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas said the commission expected “a swift and thorough investigation” of Viktoria Marinova’s death “that will bring those responsible to justice and clarify whether this attack was linked to her work.”

Marinova’s body was found on Saturday in the northern town of Ruse. She had been beaten, raped and strangled.

Schinas added: “We must make sure that journalists everywhere are safe and make their invaluable contributions to our democratic societies.”

He quoted from a speech European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker made last month: “Too many of our journalists are intimidated, attacked or even murdered. We cannot have democracy without free press.”

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5:40 p.m.

Bulgaria’s top prosecutor says authorities have no new leads on the motives for the rape and slaying of a Bulgarian television reporter.

Chief Public Prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov said that officials were following all lines of inquiry into the killing of Viktoria Marinova.

He said Monday that “at this stage let’s be careful, not because we don’t have anything to say, but because every word uttered loosely could damage our work.”

Marinova’s body was found on Saturday in the northern town of Ruse. She had been beaten, raped and strangled.

Tsatsarov said: “One thing is certain. The actions were extremely brutal and extremely monstrous.”

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3:40 p.m.

A journalists’ group has called for an investigation into the “brutal” slaying of a Bulgarian television reporter and presenter, but warned against speculating about the motive for her killing.

The Association of European Journalists-Bulgaria said there should be a thorough investigation into the death of Viktoria Marinova and justice should be “delivered…. to the people responsible for this brutal act.”

Marinova’s body was found on Saturday. She had been beaten, raped and strangled.

The association said the investigation should examine possible motivations, including that her slaying was connected to her job as a journalist.

However, it added: “As long as there are no solid and proven facts, speculation that the incident is connected to freedom of expression … are unacceptable.”

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2:40 p.m.

A Bulgarian investigative online site owner has called for an independent international inquiry into the rape and slaying of Bulgarian journalist Viktoria Marinova.

Bivol.bg owner Assen Yordanov said Monday he couldn’t directly link Marinova’s slaying on Saturday to her work, but noted her Sept. 30 show tackled “our very sensitive investigation into the misuse of EU funds. This is a topic on which no other Bulgarian national media dared to report on.”

He told The Associated Press that his site had received “operational information that hits against our journalists working on this story are being discussed and prepared.”

Yordanov said that “to get to the truth we are calling for an independent investigation…. we want independent European investigators to get involved because we believe the Bulgarian authorities are part of this country’s criminal network.”

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2 p.m.

The German government has sharply condemned the killing of a Bulgarian journalist, calling it “a brutal and dreadful murder.”

A spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry said that it’s imperative “that there’s a fast investigation and that this horrible event will be illuminated as comprehensively as possible.”

The body of 30-year-old TV journalist Viktoria Marinova, who was brutally beaten, raped and strangled, was discovered in the town of Ruse, in northern Bulgaria, on Saturday.

Sven Giegold, a German member of the Greens in the European Parliament, said all of Europe should worry about the killing.

Giegold said, “First Malta, then Slovakia, now Bulgaria. It is unacceptable that in Europe journalists are getting killed again,” referring to the killings of two other journalists in those countries.

He called on the European Parliament to quickly send a delegation to Bulgaria to help investigate the crime.

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12:30 p.m.

Bulgarian police are investigating the rape and slaying of a television reporter and presenter whose body was dumped near the Danube River.

Authorities discovered the body of 30-year-old Viktoria Marinova in the town of Ruse, northern Bulgaria, on Saturday.

Police said she had been brutally beaten, raped and strangled. Her body was found in a park near the river.

Interior minister Mladen Marinov said Monday there was no evidence to suggest the killing was linked to Marinova’s work. “It is about rape and murder,” he said.

Bulgarian police, however, say they are working on all possible scenarios, examining possible links to both her personal and professional life.

Marinova was a director of a small local TV station and presenter of two investigative programs.

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