Somali President’s Son Dodges Jail Over Fatal Crash In Turkey

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By Hamdi Firat Buyuk

A court in Istanbul on Tuesday convicted Mohammed Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the son of Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, of “causing death by negligence” after hitting a motorcycle courier in a diplomatic car.

An expert report found the Somali president’s son 75 per cent responsible for the accident. But after motorcycle courier Yunus Emre Gocer’s wife withdrew her complaint against Mohamud, the court decided on a sentence of two-and-a-half years in prison.

It then commuted the sentence to a fine of 27,300 Turkish liras, around 825 euros.

Turkish media reported that the Somalian president offered financial support to Gocer’s family in return for the withdrawal of the complaint, but this was not confirmed by the courier’s wife.

“This incident, which is very sad in terms of its consequences, was just an accident. After the incident, the client [Mohamud] tried to share the pain of the plaintiff as much as possible and made every effort to heal the wounds. We think we were successful in this regard,” Mohamud’s lawyer Seyda Aydin said in court, Turkish online gazette T24 reported.

Gocer, who was 38,was hit by a car driven by Mohamud on November 30 in Istanbul and badly injured. The police released Mohamud after taking a statement from him.

Gocer died six days after the accident. The first police report and Mohamud’s police testimony claimed that Gocer had committed suicide.

Camera footage and expert opinion showed that the claims made by Mohamud in his police statement were wrong, and found him the main negligent party in the accident.

After the footage was released by Istanbul municipality, a Turkish court imposed an international travel ban on Mohamud, but it was then revealed that he had already fled Turkey on December 2.

After Gocer’s wife withdrew her complaint, Mohamud came to Turkey last week and testified to the court, media reported.

The arrest warrant and a travel ban imposed on Mohamud were revoked after he gave a statement to court officials, Demiroren News Agency reported.

Gocer’s father and representatives of motorcycle courier organisation said they will appeal against the decision.

“A motorcycle courier’s life cannot be worth 27,000 Turkish liras when the other party is 75 per cent at fault,” Mesut Ceki, president of the Association of Couriers’ Rights, told a press conference in front of the court house.

Public anger in Turkey grew after Mohamud left the country.

But Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud insisted that his son did not flee Turkey immediately. He told Associated Press in December that his 40-year-old son, who is a doctor, stayed at the scene of the crash and remained in Istanbul for several days.

“It was an accident. He did not run away and he hired a lawyer for this purpose. And there was no arrest warrant. … So, he has a business and left the country,” the Somali leader said.

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