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Sun, 19 Jan 2020 15:50 GMT

France Reopens Probe into 2013 Killing of Kurdish Activists


7Dnews London

Wed, 15 May 2019 12:59 GMT

French judicial authorities have decided to reopen an investigation into the 2013 killing of three female Kurdish militant activists in Paris, following a request by the families who insist the Turkish intelligence services were involved, sources said Wednesday May 15th.

An anti-terror judge has been mandated to reopen the case following a complaint filed in March 2018 by the families of the victims, several sources told AFP.

As a result, Paris prosecutors have now opened an investigation into alleged complicity with a terror group in the killings, a judicial source said.

"It is historic. This marks the end of impunity for political assassinations in France ordered from abroad," Antoine Comte, a lawyer for one of the families, told AFP.

Turkish national Omer Guney charged with murdering the three, died in a hospital due to illness in December 2016, before his case came to trial.

After his death, relatives had expressed fear that justice would never be done for the three murdered women.

Guney was charged with killing Sakine Cansiz—one of the founders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)—Fidan Dogan, 28, and 24-year-old Leyla Soylemez in January 2013. They were shot in the head and neck.

Guney denied involvement in the killings, though investigators said they had surveillance footage of him entering the crime scene and one of the victim's DNA was allegedly found on his coat.

His death meant that the case against him was closed. But the families of the victims pressed for the investigation to be continued, pointing to documents which they said proved the involvement of Turkey's National Intelligence Organisation (MIT).

Comte commented: "Prosecutors admit that the case did not finish with the death of the suspect and the judge will look at all the elements, including the involvement of a foreign state."

In January 2014, MIT officially denied any role in the killings.

However, French investigators had concluded that members of the Turkish national intelligence agency MIT were "implicated" in the triple murder, according to an informed source at the time.

But the investigators had been unable to establish whether the service sponsored the hit or whether agents were acting on their own initiative.

The PKK launched its insurgency against the Turkish state in 1984, initially fighting for Kurdish independence although it now focuses on greater autonomy and rights for the country's largest ethnic minority.

It is banned as a terror group not just by Turkey, but also the United States and the European Union.