Turkey delaying return of Palestinian Prisoner’s body to hide torture marks, claims family

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Istanbul – The family members of a Palestinian man, Zaki Mubarak who died while in Turkish Police custody, suspect that Turkish authorities are deliberately delaying the process of repatriating the body in order to conceal the marks of torture.

Turkish officials claim that Mubarak was arrested in April on the charges of espionage, but he committed suicide while in custody. However, Mubarak’s family is skeptical about the Turkish claims and have called for further investigations due to the reasons that Turkish officials keep delaying the process of releasing his body.

“The Turks have been delaying the return of Zaki’s body. They were supposed to return the body last Thursday, then they said on Friday. Since then they have not delivered the body,” Sanaa Mubarak, the Palestinian man’s sister told media.

Sanaa said that Turkish authorities informed the family to send at least one of the deceased’s daughters to retrieve the body, but the family is afraid right now as “they killed their father”.

“We are afraid of sending his daughters there. They killed their father. Right now, we do not feel safe. We want the safety of his daughters guaranteed so that they can go and retrieve their father’s remains,” Sanaa said

Mubarak’s family suspect the delay in the process of repatriating the body in order to conceal the traces of torture leading to his death.

“The Turks have been delaying the process to hide the signs of torture they inflicted on him and to hide their heinous crime. Are they waiting for the body to rot so that an autopsy would not show the reason of death? That it was not suicide but murder?” Sanaa asked.

Another Palestinian man, Samer Shaban was arrested along with Mubarak in April. His family claimed that Shaban earlier worked for the Palestinian Police and left Gaza in 2007 because he and other police officers were wanted by Hamas for protesting the coup it carried out against the Palestinian government led by Fatah at the time.

Shaban then left Gaza to Egypt and then moved to United Arab Emirates, where he remained as an employee of the Palestinian police force until he retired in 2018.

Article based on inputs from Al Arabiya English.