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Death Requested for Kurdish Rebel

August 12, 1999

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) _ A Turkish prosecutor demanded the death penalty Wednesday for a senior Kurdish rebel accused in an Istanbul arson attack that killed 13 people, the Anatolia news agency reported.

The indictment against Cevat Soysal charges him with treason and Kurdish separatism. It accuses Soysal of ordering the March arson attack at a department store, as well as other attacks.

The indictment also accuses Soysal of training fighters for a pro-Kurdish political party, the People’s Democracy Party, which the government is trying to shut down. It accuses the party of having links to the Kurdish rebels who have been fighting for autonomy in Turkey’s southeast for 15 years.

After Turkish agents captured Soysal in Moldova last month, he reportedly admitted training Kurdish fighters in Romania and Moldova. But he later said he signed the confession under duress.

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