Leading Kurdish Activist Arrested in Paris

Translated from Turkish original, London

ANF 12:41 / 10 Ekim 2012 Paris

KNK (Kurdistan National Congress) member, Adem Uzun, has been remanded in custody in France after appearing court following his arrest in Paris.

The KNK condemned the action against Mr Uzun and explained in a statement that Uzun was in Paris to take part in the preparations for a conference on West Kurdistan (Syrian Kurdistan), which was scheduled to take place on 13 October.
The KNK announced that Adem Uzun was held as part of an investigation conducted by so called ‘Super Prosecutors’ Thierry Fragnoli and David Benichou , on 6 October in  Paris. Mr Uzun has been referred to as “one of PKK’s European leaders” in the French media. Mr Uzun was brought before a judge on 9 October where he was remanded in custody and was taken to jail.

KNK strongly protests at the arrest, calling it unjust and is demanding Mr Uzun’s immediate release.

The KNK claimed that the French authorities have taken this action to mollify Turkey and to prevent the Kurdish initiative from holding the conference in the French Parliament to discuss the situation in West Kurdistan.

The KNK emphasised that the arrest came soon after a speech by Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which he accused Germany and France during an interview on a Turkish TV channel on 27 September.

“The West does not want us to defeat terrorism. Particularly Germany and France do not want terror to end and this is why they allow terrorist leaders to travel across Europe freely,” the Prime Minister alleged.

“The French authorities acted on the directives from the Turkish authorities and this action will damage French democracy” stated the KNK.

The KNK pointed out that French Prosecutor Thierry Fragnoli had acted in response to the Turkish Prime Minister, reiterating that he personally worked as one of the 8 prosecutors in the anti-terror unit since 2006. “Prosecutor Fragnoli has confirmed that he, including 3 other prosecutors and 28 constables worked on PKK cases. The Prosecutor also admitted that he has arrested, tried and imprisoned many PKK militants since 2006,” the KNK added.

Over 200 Kurdish refugees have been taken into custody as a result of their political activities in France since 2007. The Ahmet Kaya Kurdish Cultural Center was also closed down by French authorities on 2 November 2011.

On 7 October 2011, Turkey and France signed an agreement which underlined the cooperation between the two states in the fight against the PKK. This agreement laid the basis for ‘joint work between Turkish and French security forces’.

The KNK explained in its statement that the arrest of Adem Uzun was an attack against the legitimate struggle of the Kurdish people and as such it was unacceptable. Furthermore, the KNK stressed that Europe should not allow Turkey to export and impose its anti-Kurdish policies abroad.

Finally, the KNK called on all EU countries, in particular France, to stop the criminalisation campaign against the Kurds and is demanding immediate release of Adem Uzun.

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