Germany to extradite suspect in Bulgarian journalist killing 'soon'

A German court said Friday that a man suspected of the rape and murder of Bulgarian television journalist Viktoria Marinova would be extradited to Bulgaria in the coming days.
"The extradition of the accused can be expected soon," the superior regional court in Celle said in a statement.
It added that the 20-year-old suspect, who was arrested on Tuesday on a European warrant, had said during questioning "that he did not want to kill the victim and denied raping her".
"The arrested man admitted to the court that he had a verbal argument with the victim on October 6, 2018," it said.
"He was under the strong influence of alcohol and drugs and punched the woman in the face, at which point she fell down. He then picked her up and threw her in a bush but said he then left the scene."
Under an expedited procedure requested by prosecutors and agreed to by the accused, he must be extradited within 10 days of the court's ruling, made on Thursday.
Bulgarian prosecutors have said that the killing does not appear linked to the victim's work as a journalist.
The body of 30-year-old Marinova -- who presented a current affairs talk programme called "Detector" for the small TVN television channel -- was discovered on a riverside path in the northern Bulgarian town of Ruse on Saturday.
Authorities said she died from blows to the head and suffocation. She was also raped.
Bulgaria's chief prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov named the suspect as Severin Krasimirov, born in 1997, and said he was already sought in connection with another rape and murder.A 21-year-old suspect arrested in the slaying of a Bulgarian television journalist has confessed to the attack but denies raping and robbing her, German prosecutors said Friday.
Severin Krassimirov, a Bulgarian citizen, was apprehended Tuesday evening outside the city of Hamburg on a European arrest warrant in connection with the death of Viktoria Marinova.
Marinova’s body was found Saturday near the Danube River in the northern Bulgarian town of Ruse. She had been raped and strangled.
Prosecutors in the city of Celle, who are handling the case in Germany, said the suspect confessed to them during his interrogation that he had attacked the reporter in a park while he was under the “strong influence of alcohol and drugs.”
They said he told them that he had gotten into an argument with a woman he did not know, hit her in the face and threw her into bushes.
“He denied intending to kill her and also denies raping and robbing the woman,” Celle prosecutors said.
Marinova hosted a show last month featuring two investigative journalists who were detained for their work on suspected fraud involving European Union funds. While Marinova didn’t appear to have been closely involved in the fraud investigation, her show touched on a sensitive subject in Bulgaria, where corruption is endemic, and there was widespread speculation that she may have been targeted for her work as a reporter.
Prosecutors said in their statement, however, that based upon their questioning of the suspect, “a political background (to the crime) cannot be drawn from his confession.”
Celle prosecutors also approved his extradition to Bulgaria, which they say will take place within the next 10 days.