Driver Is Charged in Killing of Kurds in Paris

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PARIS -- A man who had served as an occasional driver for a prominent Kurdish separatist was charged Monday with killing her and two other Kurdish activists in a Paris office almost two weeks ago.

The Paris prosecutor's office gave the driver's name as Omer Guney, 30, and said he had been born in Turkey. It said that he was under investigation over carrying out the killings as part of a terrorist group, and that he was likely to be detained pending trial.

The prosecutor's office said that he was sometimes a "guide and driver" for the slain Kurdish separatist, Sakine Cansiz, who was a founder of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or P.K.K., in 1978. He was detained for questioning last week, along with another man who has since been released.

"We believe he is likely to have been the killer or one of the killers," the prosecutor, François Molins, said at a news conference on Monday.

The three victims -- Ms. Cansiz, Fidan Dogan and Leyla Soylemez -- were all fatally shot, apparently with silenced pistols, at the unmarked Kurdish Information Center in central Paris. Their bodies were found early on Jan. 10.

The main target was assumed to be Ms. Cansiz, who had been living in Paris since 2007 and had been under surveillance by the French police. Security experts said she raised funds for the group in Europe and was a close ally of Abdullah Ocalan, the spiritual leader of the P.K.K., which is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union. He has been in prison since 1999, but he recently began negotiations with Turkish authorities to end his group's three decades of armed insurgency, during which about 40,000 people have died.

Turkish officials have suggested that the three women were killed as part of internal Kurdish feuding over the talks. Others have said that Turkish ultranationalists were responsible, or that agents of foreign countries interested in the Kurdish issue may have been involved. The French police, according to Agence-France Presse, are also investigating whether extortion linked to P.K.K. fund-raising for the party might have been a factor.

world

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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