Family of Palestinian found dead in Turkish prison after UAE spying charges dismiss suicide claim

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Zaki’s son, Yusuf, told Al-Arabiya that there should be an international commission to investigate his father’s death. (Al-Arabiya screengrab)
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Zaki Mubarak Hassan had been found hanging in his cell in Silivri prison on Sunday. (AFP/File)
Updated 29 April 2019
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Family of Palestinian found dead in Turkish prison after UAE spying charges dismiss suicide claim

  • Turkish prosecutor says Zaki Mubarak Hassan killed himself in an Istanbul prison cell on Sunday 
  • Family call for international investigation into his death and dismiss spying charges

AMMAN: The family of a Palestinian man found dead in prison after being accused of spying for the UAE have dismissed Turkish claims that he committed suicide.

The Istanbul prosecutor’s office said Monday that Zaki Mubarak Hassan had been found hanging in his cell in Silivri prison on Sunday.

But his brother, Zakeria, told Arab News that they did not believe he had killed himself and called for an “international investigation.”

Zaki was one of two suspects charged earlier this month with international, political and military espionage, Reuters reported.

The pair were arrested on April 19 and had confessed to spying on Arab nationals for the UAE, a senior Turkish official said at the time.

The prosecutor’s statement on Monday said an investigation has been launched and the Istanbul forensics institute has carried out an autopsy. 

But Zakaria challenged the Turkish government to produce video footage from the cell to prove how his brother died.

“I don't trust the Turkish government nor do I trust the Palestinian ambassador (to Turkey),” Zakaria told Arab News from his home in Bulgaria. “I want an international investigation of what happened to him.

“My brother is innocent and our lawyers told us he would be released. The Turkish government didn't want that because they didn’t want to show that they made a mistake.”

Zakaria said his brother, who had nine children, went to Turkey for business and to make money for his family. He said Zaki’s lawyer told him they had met on Friday and expected him to be released this week.

Turkey, he said, “cared more for its political interests rather than justice.”

He said he had informed the Palestinian ambassador in Ankara of his brother’s disappearance from a restaurant in Istanbul before his arrest was announced, but that the embassy stopped taking his calls.

Zaki’s son, Yusuf, told Al-Arabiya that there should be an international commission to investigate his father’s death.

“I want the creation of a specialized medical committee, including a trusted Palestinian doctor who can go there and do the autopsy on my father’s corpse in order to find the truth himself,” he said.

Relations between Turkey and Gulf allies, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, deteriorated after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Kingdom’s Istanbul consulate in October.


Rocket hits site of foreign oil firms in Iraq’s Basra

Updated 11 min 9 sec ago
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Rocket hits site of foreign oil firms in Iraq’s Basra

  • The rocket hit Burjeisa residential and operations headquarters west of Basra
  • Police said the rocket was a short-range Katyusha missile

BASRA, Iraq: A rocket struck the site of the residential and operations headquarters of several global major oil companies, including US giant ExxonMobil, near Iraq’s southern city of Basra early on Wednesday, wounding three people, Iraq’s military said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility. It came after two separate attacks in as many days on bases housing US military personnel in Iraq, as tension rose between the United States and Iran.
The rocket hit the Burjesia site west of the city, according to police and a statement released by the military. Police earlier said two Iraqi workers were wounded.
The United States evacuated hundreds of diplomatic staff from its Baghdad embassy last month, citing unspecified threats from Iran against US interests in neighboring Iraq, where Tehran supports some Shiite militias.
Wednesday’s incident came just as Exxon staff who were also evacuated after the diplomats’ departure had begun to return to Basra.
A security source said Exxon was evacuating 21 foreign staff immediately by plane to Dubai.
Oil officials said operations including exports from southern Iraq were not affected by the incident.
Other companies operating at the site include Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Italy’s Eni SpA, the oil officials said.
The rocket was a short-range Katyusha missile, the military said. Police said it landed 100 meters from the part of the site used as a residence and operations center by Exxon.
Burjesia is near the Zubair oilfield operated by Eni.
Washington has ramped up sanctions pressure on Iran in recent months and says it has sent additional forces to the region over tension with the Islamic Republic.
It blames Tehran for attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week. Tehran denies it was involved.
Both sides say they do not want war, but analysts warn such incidents could escalate violence in the region.