French: Turkish suspect probed in Kurd killings

AP News
Posted: Jan 21, 2013 1:19 PM

PARIS (AP) — French prosecutors have filed preliminary murder and terrorism charges against a Turkish citizen who worked as a driver for one of three Kurdish activists who were gunned down this month in Paris, an official said Monday.

The suspect, identified as 30-year-old Omer Guney, drove for the most prominent victim, a woman who helped found the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, a rebel group seeking autonomy for Turkey's Kurds. Guney has told investigators he has been a member of the PKK for two years, Prosecutor Francois Molins told reporters.

There is "serious and corroborating evidence" to show that Guney had a role in the Jan. 9 killings, Molins said.

Guney is now being detained while prosecutors decide if there is sufficient evidence to upgrade the preliminary charges of murder in connection with a terrorist operation and conspiracy to commit murder in connection with a terrorism operation to formal charges. If evidence does not support those suspicions, the charges will be dropped.

The conflict in Turkey between the PKK and government forces has claimed tens of thousands of lives since 1984. Recently, Turkish officials have been holding talks with the PKK in an effort to persuade it to disarm. And Turkey's government has said that those opposed to such talks may have been involved in the Paris killings.

Molins said video cameras show that Guney was inside the Kurdish Information Center in the 10th district of Paris on Jan. 9 at the time investigators believe the killings occurred there: between 12:43 p.m. and 1:21 p.m. The prosecutor said 10 shots were fired into the head of one of the victims and three into the heads of the other two.

Murder weapons have not been found, but investigators believe only one was used in the attack. The investigators say they found a bag in Guney's car that had traces of gun powder on it, and that police say the bag may have been carrying a gun.