France will reopen case on murder of 3 PKK militants in 2013: report

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French prosecutors have reopened an investigation into the 2013 murder of three Kurdish militants, a judicial source and lawyer for the families of the dead activists said on Thursday, a case that could impact France’s diplomatic relations with Turkey, Reuters reported.

France dropped all judicial proceedings related to the killings in Paris in early 2017 after the main suspect, a 34-year-old Turkish national, died of complications arising from a brain tumor a month before his trial was due to start.

At the time French investigators implied that Ömer Güney may have been acting on instructions from the intelligence services in Turkey.

Turkey’s spy agencies denied any involvement in the murders, suggesting instead they were related to internal disputes in the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group, which has fought for Kurdish autonomy from Turkey for more than three decades.

Sakine Cansız, a founder of the PKK in the early 1980s, and two other Kurdish women were found dead in the Kurdish Information Centre in Paris in January 2013 with gunshots to the head.

The new investigation has been handed to an investigative judge from the prosecutor’s anti-terrorist unit, the judicial source said. It follows a complaint filed by relatives of the three activists against “unknown persons” for complicity in murders related to a terrorist endeavor.

In France such a complaint automatically requires that a preliminary investigation is launched.

“Finally there is hope for the families of the victims that we will be able to say with certainty, and denounce, the way in which these assassinations were organized,” the relatives’ lawyer, Antoine Comte, told Reuters.

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