the racist motivation of the suspect retained

The custody of the pensioner suspected of having killed three Kurds on Friday in Paris because he was “racist” was extended on Saturday, while violence broke out on the sidelines of a demonstration in tribute to the victims.

The day after the attack, the Paris prosecutor’s office announced that “the racist motive of the facts” had been “added” to the investigation opened for assassinations, attempted assassinations, violence with a weapon, and violations of the legislation on weapons.

The 69-year-old suspect, a retired train driver of French nationality, said during his arrest that he acted because he was “racist”, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Friday shortly before noon, in front of a Kurdish cultural center on rue d’Enghien, in the 10th arrondissement of the capital, the man, who had already committed violence with a weapon in the past, killed with a handgun two men and a woman, all three Kurds, and injured three other men, one seriously, according to the latest report.

He was subdued by several people in a hair salon in this busy shopping district, before being arrested.

This attack provoked strong emotion in the Kurdish community, which referred to a “terrorist” act and blamed Turkey.

Saturday afternoon, violence broke out on the sidelines of the demonstration in tribute to the victims in Paris, part of the Place de la République, AFP journalists noted.

At least four cars were overturned, including at least one set on fire, and garbage cans burned. A few dozen demonstrators threw projectiles at the police who responded with tear gas. “Long live the resistance of the Kurdish people”, shouted several of them.

Trace of the attack dismissed

In Marseille, 1,500 people, according to the police headquarters, marched calmly in tribute to the victims at the call of the association for the defense of the rights of the Kurds Solidarity and Freedom. In Bordeaux, a demonstration gathered calmly at midday some 150 people in the city center.

The woman killed, Emine Kara, was a leader of the Kurdish Women’s Movement in France, according to the Kurdish Democratic Council in France (CDK-F). She had applied for political asylum “rejected by the French authorities”, spokesman for the movement, Agit Polat, told the press on Friday.

The two deceased men are Abdulrahman Kizil, “an ordinary Kurdish citizen”, and Mir Perwer, a Kurdish artist recognized as a political refugee and “prosecuted in Turkey for his art”, according to the CDK-F.

A police source confirmed to AFP the identities of Emine Kara and Abdulrahman Kizil.

The track of a terrorist attack has been ruled out at this stage of the investigations, arousing the incomprehension and anger of the CDK-F. “The fact that our associations are targeted is of a terrorist and political nature,” said Agit Polat after a meeting on Saturday with the Paris police chief Laurent Nunez. “There is no doubt for us that these are political assassinations,” Polat added.

The suspect, who frequented a shooting range, “wanted to attack foreigners” and “obviously acted alone”, Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said on Friday.

“It is not certain that the killer who wanted to assassinate these people (…) did it specifically for the Kurds”, he underlined.

Criminal record

“There is nothing at this stage to accredit any affiliation of this man to an extremist ideological movement”, for her part indicated the Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau.

He is unknown to the intelligence services and “was not listed as someone from the ultra-right”, according to Gérald Darmanin.

The alleged shooter has been indicted since December 2021 for violence with weapons, with premeditation and of a racist nature, and damage for acts committed on December 8, 2021.

He is suspected of having stabbed migrants on a camp in Paris and of having slashed their tents.

After a year in pre-trial detention, he was released on December 12, as required by law, and placed under judicial supervision, according to the prosecutor.

He was also sentenced in 2017 to a six-month suspended prison sentence for prohibited possession of weapons and, last June, to twelve months’ imprisonment for violence with weapons committed in 2016. He appealed against this sentence.

On the morning of the incident, “he didn’t say anything when he left (…) He’s crazy. He’s crazy,” the 90-year-old suspect’s father told AFP, describing him as “silent” and “withdrawn.”

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