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Istanbul prosecutor imposes travel ban on Somali president's son after fatal traffic incident

Thursday December 7, 2023


Istanbul (HOL) - The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office has placed Mohammed Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, son of Somali President Hasan Sheikh Mohamud, under an international travel ban after a traffic incident in Istanbul that resulted in the death of a local motorcycle courier, Yunus Emre Göçer.

The fatal accident occurred at the Eurasia Tunnel exit on Kennedy Street, Zeytinburnu, a heavily congested area of Istanbul. The first reports indicate that Göçer's motorcycle was hit from behind by a vehicle driven by Mohamud. Göçer, 38, sustained severe injuries and was later pronounced dead at Samatya Training and Research Hospital.

After the accident, Mohamud was initially released following questioning,  with preliminary opinions suggesting no fault. The police's first report suggested that Göçer might have lost control of his motorcycle. However, this narrative was vehemently challenged by Göçer's friends and family, with CCTV footage later emerging that showed Mohamud's vehicle hitting Göçer without any apparent attempt to brake. This new evidence prompted the prosecutor's office to reimpose the travel ban, indicating a more thorough investigation is in progress.

The case has attracted significant attention due to Mohamud's relation to the Somali President and the fact he was driving a vehicle from Somalia's Istanbul Consulate. Questions about the applicability of diplomatic immunity in this case have arisen.

Göçer's death has garnered considerable attention, including from Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, who expressed condolences and assured close monitoring of the case.

"The President of Somalia's son was involved in an accident where he hit motorbike courier Yunus Emre Göçer, resulting in Göçer's death. He has since been released. May God have mercy on Göçer, and I extend my deepest condolences to his family. We will not let this matter rest. On behalf of tens of thousands of motorcycle couriers, I am committed to pursuing this case through the entire legal process."

The death of Göçer, a father of two known for his skill and careful riding, has deeply affected his local community. Göçer's colleagues in the courier industry have rallied, adorning their motorcycles with his photos and banners that poignantly read, "We carry lives, not just packages." His death prompted public calls for justice and highlighted the broader risks faced by couriers on Istanbul's congested streets. 

Göçer's father, Metin Göçer, and the family's lawyer, İlyas Çimen, are advocating for the incident to be reclassified from an accident to murder, citing discrepancies between the initial police report and the CCTV footage.

Turkish officials, including Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç, have pledged to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation, regardless of the case's diplomatic complexities.

As of now, neither Villa Somalia nor the Somali Embassy in Turkey have made any statements regarding the incident.


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