Statement, 9 January 2020

Today, 9 January 2020, we mark the seventh anniversary of the brutal assassinations of Sakine Cansiz and her colleagues Fidan Dogan and Leyla Saylemez in their office at the Kurdish Information Centre in Paris on 9th January 2013. We remember them in love, respect and gratitude and pay tribute to their remarkable achievements and fortitude.

Sakine was a deeply inspiring life-long activist and founding member of the PKK. She spent many years imprisoned in terrible conditions and was tortured in Diyarbakir prison in the 1980s after the military coup. She led the protest movement inside the prison and after her release joined the armed struggle for Kurdish liberation and was the powerful force and inspiration for the Kurdish women’s movement, which remains to this day a beacon of hope for women in the Middle East, and which was at the forefront of the battle against ISIS in Syria. Fidan and Leyla were also talented and dedicated activists each playing an important role in the international work for the liberation of the Kurdish people.

The slaughter of these three courageous Kurdish women came at a time in 2013 when Abdullah Ocalan had called for the weapons to fall silent and for ideas to speak. There was much optimism that the new peace process would bear fruit. Their murders were symbolic of the brutal turn from the path of peace towards a renewed conflict. The hopes of many were dashed as their bloodied bodies lay dying.

We continue to hold out hope that the process can be restarted and are convinced that this would be the most fitting tribute to these women who worked tirelessly for the freedom of their people and gave their lives for the struggle.

The suspect in the case, who was linked to the Turkish security services in Ankara, died in suspicious circumstances in a French prison suddenly on 17th December 2017, a month before his trial was due to start which has meant there was no closure for family and friends. We still don’t know the full facts about what happened on that fateful day seven years ago today and those responsible for the tragedy have not been brought to justice. Peace in Kurdistan condemns the impunity for this crime, which remains a deep stain on the integrity of French justice system.

We salute and honour the memory of Sakine, Fidan and Leyla and their example will continue to inspire our efforts for peace and justice for the Kurdish people. In our collective memory and that of all Kurdish patriots they will live on.

Peace in Kurdistan

Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question


Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie Gingell – Tel: 020 7272 7890

Fax: 020 7263 0596

Patrons: John Austin, Baroness Blower of Starch Green, former GS NUT, Prof Bill Bowring, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, Jeremy Corbyn MP,  Prof Mary Davis, Lord Dholakia, Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director,  Jill Evans MEP, Desmond Fernandes, Lindsey German, Convenor STWC, Melanie Gingell, Christopher Gingell, Rahila Gupta, Nick Hildyard, Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru, James Kelman, Bruce Kent, Jean Lambert, Elfyn Llwyd, Aonghas MacNeacail, Scottish Gaelic poet, Mike Mansfield QC, Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, GFTU, Dr. Jessica Ayesha Northey, Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Kate Osamor MP, Margaret Owen OBE, Ali Gul Ozbek, Former Councillor and Mayor of Haringey; Gareth Peirce, Dr Felix Padel, Maxine Peake, actor, Trevor Rayne, writer, Lord Rea, Joe Ryan, Tony Simpson, Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, Stephen Smellie, Jonathan Steele, Steve Sweeney, Gianni Tognoni, General Secretary Permanent People’s Tribunal, Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Dr Tom Wakeford, Dr Derek Wall, Julie Ward MEP, Hywel Williams MP.