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Somali president's son flees to Dubai after fatal Istanbul crash involving diplomatic vehicle


Monday December 11, 2023

 

Istanbul (HOL) - Mohammed Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, the son of Somali President Hasan Sheikh Mohamud, has reportedly fled to Dubai following his involvement in a deadly car crash in Istanbul, a Somali diplomat in Turkey confirmed to the Associated Press on Monday.

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The diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity due to not being authorized to discuss the matter publicly, revealed that after the accident, the president's son transported the severely injured victim to a hospital and was later questioned by the police. He also confirmed that Mohamud was operating a consular vehicle owned by the Somali government and that members of the President's family are known to travel on diplomatic passports.

However, the Turkish press has released an identification document reportedly belonging to Mohamud, revealing that he secured a two-year residency in Turkey in 2022 on humanitarian grounds. This suggests that he was not recognized as a diplomat, potentially making him ineligible for diplomatic immunity.

The incident occurred on November 30, when Mohamud's vehicle struck a motorcycle near Istanbul's Eurasia Tunnel, operated by Yunus Emre Göçer, who succumbed to his injuries six days later. Mohamud's hasty departure from Turkey, despite an international travel ban, and the initial police report have led to a judicial investigation.

Following Göçer's death, Turkish authorities issued an arrest warrant for Mohamud and barred him from international travel. However, reports indicate that he had already left the country when the warrant was issued.

Yılmaz Tunç, the Turkish Justice Minister, has announced an investigation into both the crash and the police's response. Forensic evidence has since contradicted initial findings, showing Göçer was complying with traffic laws and that Mohamud was responsible for the crash.

On Sunday, a protest in Istanbul, including motorcycle courier groups, demanded Mohamud be tried for Göçer's death.

While the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office continues its investigation, there has been no official comment from either the office of the Somali President or the Somali Embassy in Turkey.
 
Turkey has fostered strong ties with Somalia since 2011, marked by then-Prime Minister, now President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's visit to Somalia during a crippling drought. Turkey's involvement has included providing humanitarian aid and infrastructure development. Turkey also built its largest embassy in Mogadishu and established a military base for training Somali officers and police. The Erdogan family also has substantial investments in Somalia through the Albayrak Group, a Turkish multinational conglomerate headed by Erdoggan's son-in-law and responsible for managing the port in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu.



 





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