BERLIN (Reuters) - German authorities have approved the extradition of the suspect in the rape and murder of Bulgarian television journalist Viktoria Marinova, the prosecutor general of northern city of Celle said on Friday.

Bulgarian Severin Krasimirov, 20, who was arrested in Germany, has agreed to an expedited procedure, meaning he should be sent to Bulgaria to stand trial within 10 days, the prosecutor said.

Marinova's brutal murder has triggered a debate over the extent of press freedom in the Balkan country and the rights of journalists to pursue investigative reporting.

The statement said Krasimirov denied intending to kill her, raping her or robbing her.

He admitted hitting a woman who he did not know in a park on the banks of the Danube in the Bulgarian city of Ruse and then throwing her in a bush while under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

Hundreds of people were expected to attend a funeral service for 30-year-old Marinova in her hometown of Ruse on Friday.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin, writing by Tsvetelia Tsolova; editing by John Stonestreet)

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