Key figure in Irish tourist’s sensational street fight gets reduced jail sentence
A key figure in a street fight in which an Irish tourist had sensationally defended himself with punches against more than a dozen club-wielding locals in Istanbul, has seen a reduction of his jail sentence.
Kuwaiti-born Irish citizen Mohammed Fadel Dabbous, an amateur boxer, had made headlines in August 2015 after video footage went viral on social media, showing him fighting in Istanbul’s Aksaray neighborhood.
In the incident captured on camera, Dabbous is seen going to a corner store to get a bottle of water and then accidentally toppling all of the bottles in the refrigerator.
The owner of the shop immediately confronts Dabbous, brandishing a stick and threatening him. Around 15 shopkeepers are seen running to help the shopowner confront Dobbous.
The tourist is then seen fighting the army of Turkish shopkeepers one by one, expertly parrying blows as the attackers hurl stools and sticks at him.
Dabbous, who was declared a hero by Turkish social media users, was acquitted in the ensuing court case as the judge ruled he was only defending himself.
The owner of the store, Şenol Palan, was convicted for “deliberate injury” and sentenced to 3.5 years in prison. The court also handed monetary fines to two other suspects, whose sentences were postponed.
According to local media reports on Nov. 7, the Istanbul Regional Court’s 11th Chamber corrected the previous ruling of the local court and reduced the jail sentence to 26 months.
Palan had told the court that the fight started when an unidentified man visited his store and asked to buy an alcoholic drink.
“When I refused him, he went back to his hotel and came back with Dabbous, who started the fight by pushing bottles of water on the floor,” he said.
Palan’s attorney Yunus Yalçın told journalists on Nov. 7 that the ruling reduced the jail sentence “but it is still not a just decision because my client should have been acquitted as he had also been defending himself.”
Dabbous sustained a broken arm, a cracked shoulder blade and a skull fracture in the assault, while Palan lost two of his teeth.
“The man was so strong. He knocked down everyone he hit. Then the shopkeepers in the area came over to help. It was like he was made of concrete … like he was not human,” Palan added in his testimony.