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TRIBUTES have been paid after the assassination of a leading communist commander in northern Syria in what is believed to be a targeted attack by the Turkish state.
Bayram Namaz — known by the nom-de-guerre Baran Serhad — died after his vehicle was ripped apart by an explosive device in the Syrian town of Serekaniye yesterday morning.
He was a commander for the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) in Rojava — the name given by some to the semi-autonomous region in northern Syria.
Mr Namaz was born in Patnos in Turkey’s Agri province but grew up in Van. He trained as an electrical engineer and turned to journalism in 1994, writing for the party newspaper Atilim.
Because of his involvement in revolutionary politics, he was routinely harassed by Turkish authorities who would often detain and torture him.
Mr Namaz gave testimony to the European Court of Human Rights as it investigated violations of the rule of law and allegations of torture and ill treatment in prison. The investigation particularly focused on notorious police officer Selim Sedat Ay, who later became deputy head of the Istanbul Anti-Terrorist Unit.
In 2006 a 292-page indictment accused him of “leading a terrorist organisation” and demanded he serve 3,000 years in prison. He was finally sentenced in November 2013 to 787 years and eight months in prison.
Due to a legal technicality, Mr Namaz was released from prison on May 2014 and he headed to northern Syria to join the international fight against the Isis death cult, devoting himself to the revolution.
A MLKP statement said: “We express our condolences to our people. None of these colonial-fascist attacks will be able to break our path to revolution and our struggle for freedom and socialism.”
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