January 7, 2017 / 5:29 PM / 9 months ago

Thousands demonstrate in Paris over murder of Kurdish militants

Members of the Kurdish community hold banner and flags during a gathering in tribute to Kurdish women, Fidan Dogan, Leyla Soeylemez and Sakine Cansiz in front of the Gare du Nord railway station in Paris, France, January 7, 2017. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

PARIS (Reuters) - Several thousand people demonstrated in Paris on Saturday to demand justice and a speedier investigation into the 2013 murder of three Kurdish activists.

Sakine Cansiz, a founder of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the early 1980s, and two other Kurdish women were found dead in the Kurdish Information Center in Paris in January 2013, all shot at close range.

Some 5,500 people, according to police estimates, marched through central Paris demanding French authorities find out who was behind the killing of the three women.

“We will continue our protest until justice is done,” Kurdish activist Nursel Kilic told Reuters television.

The trial of the main suspect, 34-year old Turkish national Omer Guney, was due to open on Jan. 23. But Guney - who maintained he was innocent - died of a brain tumor last month. He had been placed under formal investigation within about a week of the triple murder.

Judicial sources have said he is thought to have acted under instructions from people in Turkey.

Turkey has denied any involvement in the murders, suggesting instead they were related to internal disputes in the PKK, which has fought a bloody 30-year struggle for Kurdish autonomy from Turkey. The PKK is designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Reporting by Noemie Olive, Tatiana Chadenat and Marine Pennetier; Writing by Geert De Clercq; editing by Susan Thomas

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