One of two detainees held by Turkey on suspicion of spying for the United Arab Emirates has committed suicide in prison, a justice ministry official said today, Reuters reported.
The two suspects, Palestinians Zaki Mubarak and Samih Shabaan. were arrested on 19 April and confessed to spying on Arab nationals, a senior Turkish official said at the time. Turkey was investigating whether the arrival in the country of one of them was related to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The justice ministry official said Mubarak hanged himself but did not provide further details.
“The Palestinian embassy in Ankara still awaits Mubarak’s autopsy results,” Palestinian Ambassador to Turkey, Faed Mustafa, said, adding that the Turkish authorities were yet to provide more details about the incident.
One of the two men arrived in Turkey in October 2018, days after Khashoggi was murdered inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, the official said at the time of their detention, adding the other had arrived later to help his colleague with the workload.
The two men were charged with international, political and military espionage and sent to Silivri prison, west of Istanbul, according to state-owned Anadolu news agency.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, was killed in the consulate on 2 October by a team of Saudi operatives, provoking an international outcry.
Turkey arrested the Palestinians on charges of spying for the UAE. Following their arrest, a local court has opened an investigation into the case. Turkish intelligence had said they were related to the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s former Security Chief Mohammed Dahlan and the UAE intelligence.
Dahlan’s security team is thought to have helped cover up evidence related to Khashoggi’s murder.