Alleged Turkish hitman of Paris murders dies in prison

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Ömer Güney, the prime suspect in the murder of Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants Sakine Cansız, Fidan Doğan and Leyla Söylemez in Paris on Jan. 9, 2013, has died in prison in France.

According to ANF, Güney’s lawyers demanded his release due to health problems, and the court was to consider the petition on Monday. The families of the three murdered women were informed on Friday that Güney had died in prison. The families criticized French authorities for delaying the case, despite the fact that the investigation was completed in May 2015, and said that with the suspect’s death, the murders will never be fully solved, ANF reported.

Güney was scheduled to appear in court in January.

French investigators have found that Turkey’s secret services were probably involved in the murder of the three female Kurdish activists in Paris in 2013, reported RFI on July 23, 2015. According to the report, for the first time ever an official inquiry had implicated a foreign intelligence service in a political murder committed in France.

Sakine Cansız, 54, Fidan Doğan, 29, and Leyla Söylemez, 25 were assassinated at a Kurdish cultural center in Paris.

Güney, who denied the charges, posed as a fervent PKK supporter himself, but his friends said he was a right-wing Turkish nationalist, and the inquiry found that he had frequent contact with the Turkish secret service, MİT, according to the Le Monde newspaper.

“Numerous elements allow us to suspect the implication of MİT in the instigation and preparation for the murders,” its report says.

But, it adds, it was unable to establish whether MİT agents acted on official orders or without their superiors’ knowledge in order to sabotage a then-ongoing peace process.

The investigation found that Güney, who asked that the Turkish Embassy be alerted when he was arrested, made several trips to Turkey in the six months before the murders.

There he used a “secret” telephone line to contact certain people, one of whom could not be identified because Turkish authorities refused to allow investigators to interview him.

A voice recording leaked on the Internet on Jan. 14, 2013 and claimed to have been between Ömer Güney and two purported MİT operatives pushed the role of Turkish intelligence ahead. The exchanges in the voice recording suggest the three men were planning the killings. The purported MİT pair discussed with Güney some sort of checklist, advising him to wear gloves during the attack, to be careful of security cameras around the building and also providing suggested escape routes.

According to the French newspaper Le Parisien, the French experts who analyzed the nine-minute telephone conversation presented a report to the court which said it was likely that one of the voices belonged to Güney.

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