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Kurdish singer arrested in Montreal
Last Updated Wed Dec 24 21:36:06 2003

MONTREAL-- RCMP officers are detaining a Kurdish singing star in Montreal on suspicions that he is linked to an organization with terrorist ties.

Mourat Ala

Mourat Ala, who performs under the name of Armanc, was arrested Monday, a day before he was headlined to play a sold-out cultural concert.

He arrived in Canada from his home in Sweden last month.

That's when Canada's Security Intelligence Service issued an advisory for the singer because of his ties to the Kurdish Workers' Party, also known by the acronym PKK. The group appears on a list of organizations Ottawa classifies as linked to terrorism.

"They indicated that there are reasonable grounds to believe Mr. Ala is here to amass funds for the PKK," said Robert Gervais, a spokesman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Ala, who is a Swedish national, was the headliner for a cultural festival organized by Montreal's Kurds.

The community has raised $35,000 to keep Ala out of jail. He was released Wednesday and is under close surveillance.

The singer is expected to return to the Immigration Board at the end of January.

Written by CBC News Online staff

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