11 Jan 2013

Kurdish women activists killed in Paris

3:17 pm on 11 January 2013

Three female Kurdish activists - including a founding member of the militant Kurdish separatist group the PKK - have been shot dead in Paris.

Police and the French interior minister are describing the killings as executions. They had each been shot in the head.

The PKK has been fighting an insurgency against the Turkish government.

The bodies of Sakine Cansiz and two others were found by police at 2am (local time) on Thursday. They were last seen inside the information centre of the Kurdish institute on Wednesday afternoon, the BBC reports.

Ms Cansiz had been living in exile for several years. She was detained and tortured in Turkey in the 1980s and was close to PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. In 2007, she was arrested in Germany, but later released.

The second woman has been named as Fidan Dogan, 32, who worked in the information centre. She was also the Paris representative of the Kurdistan National Congress, based in Brussels.

The third woman was named as Leyla Soylemez.

The PKK took up arms in 1984. It wants greater autonomy for Kurds, who are thought to comprise up to 20% of Turkey's population.