Turkey claims spy for UAE committed suicide in prison, family suspects foul play

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A man held by Turkey on suspicion of spying for the United Arab Emirates has died in prison, with Istanbul’s prosecutor’s office stating that he allegedly hung himself.

But, in an exclusive interview with Al Arabiya, the Palestinian man’s family members rejected the Turkish authorities’ statement, calling it “a mere charade,” and accusing Turkey of killing him.

Zakaria Mubarak, the brother of the deceased Palestinian man Zaki Mubarak, said in an interview with Al Arabiya that initially Turkish authorities claimed the two detained men were UAE citizens. He added they later announced the men were Palestinian, which he said proves that they are lying about his cause of death.

In a telephone interview with Al Arabiya from Bulgaria, Mubarak said he had contacted the Palestinian ambassador in Ankara and informed him of the disappearance of his brother Zaki, and his friend Samer Shaaban in April.

“I told him that they disappeared from a certain restaurant in Istanbul. I told him to look for Turkish security in the city which is full of cameras, but nothing happened, and 15 days later, the Turkish authorities called them two Emirati spies,” he said.

“How could two people who don’t speak Turkish spy (in Turkey)?” Mubarak said.

“Turkey deceived us and betrayed the Palestinian people for political gains and objectives,” he added.

Meanwhile, Zaki's son, Yusuf, called on an international commission to investigate his father's death.

“I call for the formation of a medical committee, which includes an honest Palestinian doctor, to dissect the body of my father and to tell the truth,” Yusuf said during a Skype interview with Al Arabiya from Gaza where he resides.

He also questioned the Turkish story, asserting that his father did not commit suicide, and accusing Turkish security forces of killing him.

“My father traveled to Turkey to make a living, to build us a future. We were surprised by his arrest since April 4, and we were more shocked by the false accusations against him,” Yusuf added.

He stated that his father was a victim and “a scapegoat in a political conflict.”

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