Suspect in Paris murder of Kurd rebels dies
PARIS: A Turkish national charged with murdering three female Kurdish rebels in Paris died Saturday, a French judicial source said, before his case came to trial.
Omer Guney died at a hospital in the French capital following a battle with a serious brain illness, the source said. He was the only suspect sent for trial, scheduled to start next month, on charges of “murder in relation to a terrorist enterprise” over the killings of the three women, including Sakine Cansiz.
Cansiz-one of the founders of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) was murdered along with Fidan Dogan, 28, and 24-year-old Leyla Soylemez. The women’s bodies were found in the early hours of January 10, 2013 at a Kurdish information centre. They had been 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.
Lawyers for the victims’ families spoke of their anger at being “denied a public trial which they had been waiting for almost four years”. They expressed their “consternation at seeing France, one again, incapable of judging a political crime committed on French territory by foreign secret services”.
Guney had been described by relatives as a Turkish ultranationalist who infiltrated the PKK in order to spy on it, with one source saying he was tasked with “eliminating PKK cadres”.
In January 2014 the Turkish intelligence services officially denied any role in the killings. French investigators had concluded that members of the Turkish national intelligence agency MIT were “implicated” in the triple murder, according to an informed source. However, 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.