Turkish court fines Somali president’s son for car crash that killed courier

A court in Turkiye has found the son of Somalia’s president guilty of “causing death by negligence” after a diplomatic car he was driving hit and killed a courier in Istanbul on 30 November 2023.

Prosecutors had requested that Mohammed Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the son of Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, be sentenced to up to six years in prison.

Instead, the court sentenced Mohamud to two-and-a-half years in prison before opting to commute the sentence to a fine of 27,300 Turkish lira ($900), local media reported.

Tuğba Aydın, the lawyer representing the family of the killed courier, 38-year-old Yunus Emre Göçer, told reporters after the hearing on 16 January that Göçer’s father was planning to appeal the court’s decision to commute the sentence.

Mesut Çeki, the president of the Courier Rights Association, was also highly critical of the sentence. Speaking outside the court last week, he said: “The life of a motorcycle courier cannot be worth 27,000 Turkish lira when the other side is 75 percent at fault,” while adding, “So what happened? Is this justice?”

The fatal accident happened in broad daylight in a busy part of Istanbul. Although Mohamud had denied responsibility for the crash, claiming it was the fault of the courier who had stopped suddenly making the collision unavoidable, footage from the scene and the police investigation proved otherwise.

Both vehicles had exited the Avrasya Tunnel heading towards Zeytinburnu when the car hit the back of Göçer’s motorcycle. The father of two was taken to hospital but died from his injuries six days later.

The Somali president’s son left Turkiye soon after the accident and a warrant for his arrest was issued. He returned to Turkiye voluntarily a week before the trial to testify. He was brought before the court for a preliminary hearing on 12 January and was released afterwards.

Somalia and Turkiye share good relations, with Ankara driving stronger economic ties with the East African nation. In 2021, Turkiye exported goods worth $347 million to Somalia, with pasta, raw iron bars and wheat flours the most valuable commodities.

According to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, Somalia’s Mogadishu International Airport and Mogadishu Sea Port are run by Turkish companies.


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