Female journalist, Busharo Ali Mohamed (popularly known as Busharo Baanday) has been detained on Monday 15 May 2023 by Somaliland police. | PHOTO Credit/ Facebook.

MOGADISHU, Somalia 21 June 2023 – The Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS) calls on the Somaliland Office of Attorney General to immediately drop the unfounded charges and unconditionally release female journalist Busharo Ali Mohamed detained in Hargeisa.

On Tuesday 20 June 2023, Busharo (popularly known as Busharo Baanday) was presented at the Hargeisa Marodi Jeh Regional Court where the Office of the Attorney General brought three charges against her: Article 205 (Disclosure of Information the Divulgation of Which Has Been Prohibited); Article 212 (Anti-National Activity of a citizen Abroad) and Article 328 (Publication or Circulation of False, Exaggerated or Tendencious News Capable of Disturbing Public Order). All are derived from the outdated Somali penal code.

Busharo Ali Mohamed, a British-Somali citizen and a mother of one child, was detained without a warrant at the Wajale town border crossing on 15 May 2023. She was subsequently transferred to Hargeisa on 17 May 2023, where she remains in custody.

SJS is concerned about her safety and well-being, as she is being held incommunicado at Hargeisa Central Police Station with limited access to her family and legal representation. Despite requests for medical attention, she has been denied adequate healthcare, and her lawyers have confirmed that she is being held under harsh conditions. Scheduled to appear in court on 27 June 2023, Busharo’s upcoming hearing will mark the sixth time she has faced the court since her detention.

SJS expresses dismay over her continued incarceration and urged the Somaliland Office of the Attorney General to drop the baseless charges, allowing Busharo to be reunited with her family.

“We are deeply troubled by the ongoing detention of Busharo Ali Mohamed in Hargeisa. We call upon the Somaliland Office of the Attorney General to drop these weird charges and release Busharo immediately and unconditionally, enabling her to be reunited with her family,” said Abdalle Ahmed Mumin, the Secretary-General of SJS. “We also remind the Somaliland authorities, particularly the President, Interior Minister, and Police Commander, of their responsibility to cease targeting journalists for their critical reporting. Journalism is not a crime, and no journalist should face harassment or detention for carrying out their professional duties.”

In a positive development, SJS celebrates the release of journalist Khalid Yusuf Hassan from Eryal TV. Khalid had been detained by Somaliland police in Hargeisa on 13 June 2023 but was released without charges on Tuesday 20 June.