Turkish protester in fireball suicide

A 17-year-old student died after setting himself alight in southeastern Turkey in protest at the detention of Kurdish separatist leader Abdullah Ocalan, a judicial source said on Thursday.

The youth’s charred body was found on Monday night by police on the side of the Euphrates river in Diyarbakir, the main city in the mainly Kurdish southeast.

A suicide note was found next to his body in which he demanded the release of Ocalan, the leader of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) who has been serving a life sentence for treason since 1999, the source said.

The PKK, which is considered a terrorist organisation by the Ankara government and much of the West, took up arms in 1984 at the start of a conflict that has claimed some 45 000 lives.

A number of other Kurdish activists have previously set themselves on fire in order to draw attention to their campaign for self-rule.

The recent revolution in Tunisia was sparked by the death of a vendor who had set himself on fire to protest his treatment by the authorities. – Sapa-AFP

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