Suspected spy for UAE found hanged in Turkish prison

Suicide of Palestinian suspected of spying for UAE in high security prison in Turkey raises questions on country's security measures to prevent suicide.

ANKARA - A suspected spy for the United Arab Emirates who was detained by Turkish authorities 10 days ago has committed suicide in prison, a Turkish government source and state media said on Monday.

The suspect was later formally charged with "military and political" and "international espionage", according to Anadolu.

The prosecutor's office said his body was discovered Sunday hanging from the bathroom door of the one-person cell he was being held in at Silivri prison, on the outskirts of Istanbul.

The prosecutor's office identified him as Zaki Y.M. Hasan. He died between 8:16 a.m. when a roll-call took place and 10:22 a.m. when he was discovered during the distribution of food, it said.

The circumstances of the incident and the security measures used to prevent suicide in Turkish prisons, which are commonly accused of mistreating prisoners to the point of torture, are still unknown.

Turkey has not declared the nationality of the detainees, but the Arabic service of Turkey's TRT station said on its website that they were Palestinians and had Palestinian passports and that Hassan was a retired brigade commander at the age of 55 and a senior intelligence official.

The prisoner's family questioned the circumstances of his death and called for an investigation.

"My father traveled to Turkey in search of a living, to build for us in the future, we were surprised by his arrest ... directing some false allegations against him ... is all a masquerade," Hassan’s son Yousouf told Al Arabiya TV.

He said he wanted to recover his father's body and urged Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and world powers to investigate the circumstances of his father's death.

"I want the international community to form a tribunal and an international commission of inquiry to find out the death of Abu Qasas. Secondly, I want a medical committee to be set up, including a Palestinian doctor, to go there and perform an autopsy on my father's body to know the truth," he said.

A woman who identified herself as Hassan's sister said in the same interview that she was confident her brother did not commit suicide.

The man was taken into custody with another alleged spy as authorities probed whether they were tied to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last October in Istanbul.

Khashoggi was killed and dismembered on October 2 after he went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain paperwork ahead of his upcoming marriage.

The Saudi public prosecutor has charged 11 people with Khashoggi's murder.

Turkey has delicate relations with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two of the Arab states that imposed a blockade on Qatar, one of Ankara's close allies.