The case of the murder of television presenter Viktoria Marinova has revealed the huge of lack of trust in Bulgaria’s institutions both within the country and abroad, President Roumen Radev said on October 14.
Radev told journalists during a visit to Troyan that the case also revealed the double standard applied to the value of human life.
Marinova, who was 30, was raped and murdered on October 6. The case was the subject of international and high-profile domestic coverage, and led to political comments from politicians and NGOs linking it to the below-par media freedom in Bulgaria. On October 10, Bulgarian authorities announced that an arrest had been made, of a 21-year-old man from Marinova’s home town of Rousse.
“I expect the law enforcement authorities and the court to show not only to the Bulgarian citizens but also to our partners in the world that such crimes in Bulgaria are effectively solved and punished with the greatest rigor of the law,” Radev said.
Radev, who was elected head of state on a ticket backed by the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party and who is a frequent public critic of Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s government, said that he expected effective actions to solve the murders of business person Petar Hristov and tax official Ivo Stamenov, as well as dozens of other cases, because their lives were no less significant, he said.
Stamenov, who headed the fiscal control department at the National Revenue Agency was shot dead in Sofia in December 2017. Hristov was shot dead in the Bulgarian capital city in January 2018.
Borissov and his government have been irked by the Marinova murder being a vehicle for criticism of Bulgaria.
After the announcement of the arrest of the alleged murderer, Borissov summoned foreign ambassadors accredited to Bulgaria to a meeting at the Cabinet building where he underlined to them his frustrations at the reactions to the murder.
At the weekend, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, parliamentary leader of Borissov’s GERB party, repeated his view that there was a “hybrid war” involving fake news, aimed at producing a political dividend or creating chaos that damaged the image of Bulgaria.
“When there is fake news and when it is well-presented, it covers a large perimeter of media, and it also allows politicians to make mistakes,” Tsvetanov said.
He said that serious institutions had been hasty in reacting to the murder of Marinova.
“I think that this case can be given as an example of what politicians should not do when there is certain fake news when there is still no official position from the Bulgarian institutions,” Tsvetanov said.
Among the reactions that irked Borissov was that of Manfred Weber, of the European People’s Party – the EU-level political ally of Borissov’s GERB. Subsequently, after the arrest of the alleged murderer, Weber was among those who sought to patch up relations with Borissov.
Borissov has said that he will discuss the matter with the EPP when he attends a meeting in Brussels later in October./IBNA