Turkish court fines Somali leader’s son over fatal car crash

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The son of Somalia’s president was sentenced by a Turkish court on Tuesday to 2-1/2 years in prison for causing death by negligence, which was converted into a fine of 27,300 Turkish lira ($900), state media reported.

Mohamed Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud was driving a car carrying a diplomatic licence plate on Nov. 30 when he hit a motorcycle courier in central Istanbul, seriously injuring him.

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

Mahmoud was tried in absentia in Istanbul on Tuesday, having been back to Turkey to appear before the court last week. He had denied negligence, saying the motorbike had stopped suddenly and he could not avoid the collision.

The prosecutor had sought up to six years in prison for Mahmoud. Converting prison sentences to fines happens periodically in the Turkish judicial system. His driving licence in Turkey was revoked for six months.

(1 = 30.1013 liras)

(Reporting by Burcu Karakas; Editing by Ece Toksabay and Alison Williams)