Suspected UAE spy 'commits suicide' in Turkish prison

Suspected UAE spy 'commits suicide' in Turkish prison
Zaki Hasan, a Palestinian national arrested ten days ago by Turkey on charges of spying on Arab dissidents for the UAE, was found dead in prison on Sunday.
2 min read
29 April, 2019
Two men were arrested earlier this month, accused of spying on Arab dissidents [Getty]

One of two men detained this month by Turkey, accused of spying for the United Arab Emirates, has committed suicide in prison, according to Turkey's state news agency.

Turkey said ten days ago it had arrested two men on charges of "political, military and international espionage" as part of an investigation into alleged spying by the UAE.

The previously unidentified suspects reportedly confessed to spying on Arab political exiles in Turkey.

One of the men hanged himself in detention in Silviri prison on the outskirts of Istanbul, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported on Monday.

The man was found dead in his cell on Sunday, according to a statement by Istanbul's chief prosecutor.

He was identified as Zaki Y. M. Hasan in the statement.

The family of Zaki Mubarak Hasan, a Palestinian national, was informed of his death in prison before the news was released to the media, Arab news outlets reported.

Palestinian ambassador to Turkey Fayed Mustafa confirmed Hasan's death.

"The embassy is waiting for the results of the autopsy," Mustafa said in a statement, according to Al-Jazeera Mubasher.

But Zakaria Mubarak Hasan denied claims that his brother Zaki had committed suicide while in prison in a video published on Facebook, claiming he had been "killed".

Hasan was reportedly from the Gaza Strip, where he worked in the Palestinian intelligence services. After moving to Ramallah and Bulgaria, Hasan entered Turkey a few months ago, according to Palestinian media.

Turkish authorities are also probing the possibility that the suspects could have been involved in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi, a public opponent of Saudi de-facto ruler and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was lured into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last October, where he was killed by a team of Saudi operatives.

After initially denying Khashoggi's murder, Saudi Arabia now maintains that a "rogue" team carried out the operation.

A trial by the Saudi judiciary of unnamed 11 suspects in them murder began earlier this year.

The trial has been widely criticised by human rights groups and the UN for its lack of transparency.

Saud al-Qahtani, a Saudi royal adviser and right-hand-man to bin Salman who is widely suspected to have overseen the killing, is not being prosecuted in the closed-door trial, AFP reported on Sunday.

Follow us on Twitter: @The_NewArab