Turkish Court Charges Son of Somali President with Death of Motorcycle Courier

Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray
Sébastien is a published journalist and historicist with over six years of experience in freelance journalism and research. His primary expertise is in African conflict and politics, with additional specialization in Israeli/Palestinian and Armenia/Azerbaijan conflicts. Sébastien serves as the deputy desk chief for Africa.

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What’s Happening

A Turkish court has charged Mohammed Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, son of Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, with the death of a motorcycle courier. However, the two and a half year prison sentence that was initially instated by the court was immediately commuted to just a fine of 27,300 Turkish Lira (900 USD). Initially, prosecutors had been seeking a six year sentence for Mohammed, which was bumped down to two and a half years.

Mohammed was driving a diplomatic car on November 30th when he hit a motorcycle courier, named Yunus Emre Gocer, in Istanbul. When Gocer died in the hospital 6 days later, an arrest warrant was issued for Mohammed, however he had already left the country.

Last week Mohammed returned to Turkey in order to testify in the case, following which he was released by court officials, and his arrest warrant and travel ban were revoked.

Mohammed had denied responsibility for “causing death by negligence”, stating that the motorcycle had suddenly stopped and he could not avoid the crash.

President Mohamud had stated to media that his son was not going to “flee” Turkey, and that he had told his son to appear in the Turkish court.

“Turkey is a brotherly country. 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” -President Mohamud

Turkey’s Courier Rights Association condemned the decision, stating “The life of a motorcycle courier cannot be worth 27,000 Turkish lira when the other side is 75 percent at fault. So what happened? Is this justice?”

The incident had threatened to sour relations between the otherwise friendly two nations.