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Turkish Court Convicts Somali President’s Son over Motorcyclist’s Death

A Turkish court sentenced the son of Somalia’s president to 2 1/2 years in prison on Tuesday for the killing of a motorcycle courier. The sentence, however, was quickly reduced to a fine.

Mohammed Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was charged on Nov. 30 with “causing death by negligence” when a diplomatic car he was driving collided with Yunus Emre Gocer on an Istanbul highway. After Gocer died six days later, an arrest warrant was issued for Mohamud, but the president’s son had already fled Turkey.

Mohamud reportedly returned to Turkey last week to testify regarding the accident. Mohamud’s arrest warrant and travel ban were overturned after he provided a statement to court officials, according to the DHA news agency.

On Tuesday, the Istanbul court convicted Mohamud, who was not present, of negligent death and penalized him 27,300 Turkish lira ($910). His driver’s licence was revoked for six months.

Prosecutors had requested that Mohamud be sentenced to up to six years in prison.

Gocer’s father was planning to appeal the decision to commute the sentence, his lawyer Tugba Aydin told reporters after the hearing.

An association fighting for the rights of motorized couriers also criticized the court’s ruling.

The life of a motorcycle courier cannot be worth 27,000 Turkish lira when the other side is 75% at fault,” said Mesut Ceki of the Courier Rights Association. “So what happened? Is this justice?”

The death of the biker threatens to damage Turkey’s good relations with Somalia. Turkey started a probe into the officials who led the initial crash investigation and apparently let Mohamud go free.

Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud told The Associated Press last month that his 40-year-old son, a doctor, did not flee Turkey and that he recommended him to appear in court.

“Turkey is a brotherly country,” the president said. “We respect the laws and the justice and the judicial system. As a president of Somalia, I will never allow anybody to violate this country’s judicial system.”

Turkish authorities have maintained tight connections with Somalia since 2011, when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, then prime minister, paid a visit to the East African country suffering from a catastrophic drought. Turkey has since contributed humanitarian supplies, constructed infrastructure, and established a military facility in Somalia where officers and police have been trained.

Written by PH

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