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.