A Turkish flag, with the New and the Suleymaniye mosques in the background, flies on a passenger ferry in Istanbul, Turkey, April 11, 2019..
(photo credit: MURAD SEZER/REUTERS)
A former Palestinian Authority intelligence officer accused of espionage for the United Arab Emirates was found dead in a Turkish prison on Monday. While the local authorities declared that he committed suicide, his family reject their claim, CNN reported.
Zaki Hassan, 55, had been detained on suspicion of spying for the United Arab Emirates. He was arrested with another man at the beginning of April.
A Palestinian father of nine, Hassan fled the Gaza Strip after Hamas took power in 2007. His wife Sameeh Shaaban told CNN that he left when Hamas accused him of being involved in an alleged plot to assassinate Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, which he denied.
Hassan obtained political asylum in Bulgaria and last March he received authorization to live in Turkey.
The Turkish prosecutors explained that he was arrested as they were investigating possible connections between Hassan and the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October.
However, Hassan’s family strongly deny all the accusations.
“My brother is a martyr and enough is enough to defame his image. Not only did they kill him but now they are defaming the image of my brother," Hassan’s brother Zacharia told CNN.
"He was a father, had a Phd in political science, and was a retired intelligence general. Why would he kill himself?" he added.