French court to try 11 Kurds over attacks in France
French prosecutors have sent 11 Kurds for trial over a series of fire bomb attacks on Turkish targets in March 2007.30 July 2008
PARIS - French prosecutors have sent 11 young Kurds for trial over a series of fire bomb attacks on Turkish targets in France that injured several people, some seriously, sources close to the case said Tuesday.
They are all suspected of being sympathisers of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is classified as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
The suspects, most of them in their early 20s, are accused of having carried out molotov cocktail attacks on two Turkish cafes in the southwest city of Bordeaux, and in Marseille on the southern Mediterranean coast in March 2007.
They are thought to have been behind a similar attack against a Turkish cultural association in Bordeaux later the same month.
Two of the suspects were arrested in April 2007 shortly after another fire bomb attack in Bordeaux on a cafe popular with the Turkish community. The pair were allegedly carrying a petrol-soaked bag.
A number of people were injured in these attacks, some of whom had suffered serious burns.
The defendants will face charges ranging from destruction of property, the manufacture and use of explosives, and criminal association - all "in relation to a terrorist enterprise".
Seven of the suspects have also been charged with "financing terrorism", having allegedly carried out fundraising for the PKK.
Most of the defendants were arrested in June 2007 on the outskirts of Paris or in and around Bordeaux and Marseille but only two of the suspects are still in custody.
Investigators say they are all suspected of being members of the PKK's youth wing.
The first trial in France connected with the activities of the PKK in more than a decade, it is due to start towards the end of the year, said a source close to the case.
A 12th suspect who was still a minor at the time of the attacks has been sent before the juvenile court in Paris.
More than 37,000 people have died in Turkey since 1984 in attacks during the PKK's struggle for a Kurdish homeland in southeastern Turkey.
[AFP / Expatica]