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Repression Four arrested in London for selling Kurdish newspaper

KURDISH solidarity campaigners warned of Turkish state interference and an attack on free speech yesterday after four people were arrested in London on “trumped-up” terrorism charges.

Two Kurdish women and two teenagers were arrested on December 7 and questioned by police over the sale and distribution of Kurdish newspaper Yeni Ozgur Politika (New Free Politics).

Britain’s Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign (KSC) described the arrests as “deeply concerning,” questioning the possible involvement of the Turkish government which they accuse of waging “a secret war on Kurds.”

KSC co-secretary Rosa Gilbert told the Star that much of the Kurdish diaspora in London had fled Turkey to escape persecution by the state, which has increased oppression since last year’s failed coup, targeting journalists and media outlets.

She said: "Now it seems as if the Met police is implementing similar tactics to target Kurdish activists in Britain.

“It would be interesting to hear how far up the political ladder this command has come from and what role the Turkish government have had in this.”

Yeni Ozgur Politika is one of the biggest selling Kurdish language newspapers, distributing around 5,000 copies a day across Europe. It is available in shops and community centres bringing news from the region to the Kurdish diaspora.

Metropolitan police said they were arrested on suspicion of terrorist fundraising, terrorist money laundering and fraud offences. All four have been released on bail.

Similar raids took place in Scotland earlier this year when homes and a Kurdish Community Centre were targeted as part of investigations into allegations of fundraising for the Kurdistan Workers Party, a proscribed organisation in Britain.

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