(Guyana Guardian) – Popular Bulgarian investigative journalist Victoria Marinova, often commended for her stunning beauty, but feared by the rich and powerful for her unrelenting exposure of corruption and crime in high places, was brutally raped, and then murdered in a manner that has angered the international journalism fraternity.

Her semi-nude body was found dumped in a park, and her face was bashed in almost beyond recognition.

At the time of her killing, Marinova was covering a prolonged investigation into alleged corruption involving millions of Euros in European Union funds, and which had implicated several high profiles figures in the Bulgarian Government.

Now counted as the fourth journalist to be killed in a supposedly safe Europe over the past year alone, many in the journalism fraternity are adamant that the rape and murder of Marinova seems to be a fatal lesson to her, and a stern warning to Europe’s growing list of powerful female journalists whose investigative work have resulted in a number of high profile figures being jailed or stepping down from their powerful positions over the past few months alone.

“Viktoria’s death, the brutal manner in which she was killed, is an execution. It was meant to serve as an example, something like a warning,” said Asen Yordanov, owner of news website Bivol.bg.

Like Asen, several journalism organizations in Europe have similarly linked the journalist rape and murder to her work, but authorities have rejected this claim without providing any reason why they are doing so.

The UK Guardian has quoted Bulgarian Interior Minister Mladen Marinov as claiming that there was no evidence linking Marinova’s killing to her work. “It is about a rape and murder,” that’s all, he stressed.

PUBLISHER’S STATEMENT: The Guyana Guardian strongly condemn the rape and killing of Ms Victoria Marinova, since it is intended to degrade and drive fear into the mindset of especially female media workers. Moreover, it is a blatant attack on Press Freedom. As such, we are calling on the global media fraternity to ultimately reject this form of intimidation, and to continue to press the Bulgarian authorities to bring the perpetrators and architects of this crime to justice, and to closely monitor this case.