Thousands in Turkey attend funeral of slain human rights lawyer

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Several thousand people are attending the funeral of a prominent lawyer and human rights defender who was killed in a shooting along with two policemen.

Tahir Elci, 49, was shot in Diyarbakir city Saturday while making a press statement. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said authorities are investigating whether the attack directly targeted Elci or whether he died in the crossfire during shooting between the assailants and police.

Addressing mourners on Sunday, Pro-Kurdish party leader Selahattin Demirtas said Elci was the victim of a “political murder.” He said the lawyer dedicated his life to peace, freedoms, and brotherhood.

Elci, who was Kurdish, advocated peace between Kurdish rebels and Turkey’s security forces. He was facing a criminal charge for defending the rebels, whom Turkey considers terrorists, during a news program.

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