Brother of Palestinian found dead in Turkish jail turns to international courts

The brother of a Palestinian man found dead in a Turkish jail in April after Turkish authorities accused him of spying for the UAE plans to file suits in top international courts against the Turkish government, Arab Weekly reported on Sunday.

Zakaria Mubarak, younger brother of Zaki Mubarak, a Palestinian businessman who disappeared in Istanbul in April and was declared dead in a jail outside the city later that month, said his brother was killed by Turkish authorities.

“They killed him to cover up the crime they had committed against him,” Mubarak said.

Zaki Mubarak, a former explosives department officer in the Gaza Strip, owned a food import-export firm in Sofia, Bulgaria, where he lived with his Bulgarian wife and three children, according to Arab Weekly.

He travelled to Istanbul April 1 to meet Samer Shaaban, an old friend, and explore business opportunities. On April 19, Turkish authorities announced they had arrested Zaki Mubarak and another man, saying they had arrived shortly after the October killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and confessed to spying for the United Arab Emirates.

Some 10 days later, a prison guard found Mubarak hanging from the door of his prison cell, according to Turkish authorities. His family, including his six children and former wife in Gaza, denied Turkey’s version of the story and called for an international investigation.

A medical team commissioned by the Palestinian Embassy in Cairo said Zaki Mubarak’s body had been mutilated and bruised, according to Arab Weekly. “This proves that he was subjected to the most merciless of torture at the Turkish jail,” Zakaria Mubarak said. “This is a crime that should never go unpunished.”

Zaki Mubarak was scheduled to appear in court April 30, and was expected to be acquitted, according to his brother, but was found dead two days before the court appearance.

“They had to kill him because he would have proved Turkish authorities lying, if he had been proven innocent by the court,” Zakaria Mubarak said.

Turkish journalist Fehim Taştekin told Ahval that the killing was a result of the ruthless rivalry between Turkey and the leading Gulf monarchies, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. They will not accept Turkey’s suicide narrative. The UAE-Saudi duo will use the torture and murder thesis in all platforms,’’ Taştekin said in April.

Zakaria Mubarak said he would include the Cairo Forensic Authority’s report in documents that he, an Egyptian lawyer, and a French lawyer plan to file with the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.

“Zaki is not the kind of person who will kill himself. He was God-fearing and cannot end his life, regardless of any pressures he was subjected to,” said Zakaria. “Turkish authorities have to learn that they cannot get away with killing an innocent man.”