Somali leader’s son freed in fatal car accident trial in Turkey

ANKARA (Reuters) – A Turkish court scrapped an arrest warrant for the son of Somalia’s president on Friday after he participated in a court case over a fatal car accident involving a diplomatic car he had been driving, state broadcaster TRT reported.

Mohamed Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud, son of Somali president Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud, was driving a Somali consulate car on Nov. 30 when it collided with a motorcycle courier in central Istanbul. The courier was seriously injured.

Mahmoud left the country on Dec. 2, following police interrogation. An arrest warrant was issued for him after the courier died in hospital on Dec. 6.

Turkish Justice Minister Yilmaz Tunc last month said he expected Mahmoud to return to Turkey to participate in the court case.

Mahmoud came to Istanbul and appeared before the court on Friday afternoon, TRT said, adding that he repeated his earlier defence at the hearing. Mahmoud earlier told the prosecutor that the motorcyclist was to blame for the accident.

The court ruled to lift the arrest warrant against Mahmoud and exempted him from future hearings in the case, which will continue.

The prosecutor is seeking up to six years in prison for Mahmoud for “causing death by negligence.”

(Reporting by Huseyin Hayatsever; editing by Philippa Fletcher)