Suspected spy for UAE held in Turkey commits suicide
A man held by Turkey on suspicion of spying for the United Arab Emirates has committed suicide by hanging himself in prison, the Istanbul prosecutor’s office said on April 29.
The suspect, named as Zaki Y. M. Hasan, was found hanging from the bathroom door in his one-person cell in Silivri prison, west of Istanbul, when guards arrived to give him food on April 28 morning, the prosecutor’s office statement said.
It said the man had been registered in a roll-call that morning. An investigation has been launched and the Istanbul forensics institute has carried out an autopsy, the statement added.
The dead man was one of two suspects charged with international, political and military espionage. The pair were arrested on April 19 and had confessed to spying on Arab nationals, a senior Turkish official said at the time.
UAE officials were not immediately available for comment on the death and there has been no official statement following Turkey’s announcement of the arrests.
Investigators are examining whether the arrival in Turkey of one of the detainees was related to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi six months ago.
The United Arab Emirates is a close ally of Saudi Arabia. Relations with Turkey have been strained since the two Arab states launched a blockade of their Gulf neighbor, Qatar, in 2017, while Ankara supported Doha.
Turkey has not identified the nationality of either detainee but Turkish state broadcaster TRT’s Arabic service said both were Palestinians and carried Palestinian passports. Hasan was a 55-year-old retired major general and a senior intelligence official, TRT said on its website.
According to the senior Turkish official, one of the two men arrived in Turkey in October, days after Khashoggi was killed, while the other arrived later to help his colleague.