French police hold two for questioning in Kurd killings

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 18, 2013 2:26 PM

PARIS (Reuters) - French police have detained two men for questioning as part of their investigation into the killing of three Kurdish rebel activists in Paris earlier this month, a police source said on Friday.

The three women, including a founder of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), were found shot in the head on January 10 at an institute with close links to the rebel movement.

More than 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK took up arms in 1984 with the aim of carving out a Kurdish homeland in the southeast of Turkey.

French investigators have for now given no indication as to who might be responsible for the deaths in Paris.

"Two people have been in for questioning since Thursday," the police source said. Under French law, suspects can normally be held for two days, though the limit can be extended in cases seen as particularly serious.

The two men, aged 30 and 39, were questioned as witnesses but police decided to delve deeper after finding contradictions in statements by the younger man, who sometimes worked as a driver for one of the victims, said the source.

He said the two men were Kurds, but did not give their nationalities.

The PKK has blamed shadowy elements within the Turkish state or foreign powers for the killings.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has said initial evidence suggested the motive may be an internal feud in the PKK or a desire to derail peace talks.

Turkey announced this month that it had begun discussing with jailed PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan how to end the conflict.

Tens of thousands took to the streets of the Turkish city of Diyarbakir on Thursday for the funeral of the three activists.

(Reporting by Gerard Bon and Nicolas Bertin; Writing by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Tom Pfeiffer)