In a concerning case that highlights the challenges faced by journalists in Somaliland, Justice Abroad’s Director, Michael Polak, is taking action on behalf of Busharo Ali Mohamed (known as Busharo Baanday), a British journalist who was arrested, tortured, and detained by Somaliland authorities on May 15, 2023.
Busharo, known for her coverage of Somaliland’s democratic issues and her critical commentary on social media platforms, including describing the Somaliland leader as “autocratic,” remains in custody.
The arrest is believed to be directly related to her professional work. She has been a vocal reporter on Somaliland politics, often highlighting the country’s challenges.
According to reports, Busharo was apprehended at the border between Ethiopia and Somaliland. During her arrest, she was subjected to physical violence, including kicks and slaps, resulting in injuries to her face and leg.
A recent hearing on July 9, 2023, involved legal arguments regarding the charges, some of which involve other journalists. The judge has reserved judgment for a later date, leaving Busharo’s fate uncertain.
Speaking on the matter, Michael Polak expressed his support for Busharo, highlighting her courage in reporting critical news from Somaliland. He emphasized the importance of a free press in fostering development and criticized the Somaliland authorities for their treatment of Busharo, including her arrest, mistreatment, and prolonged detention.
“We call on the authorities to end their persecution of Busharo for her work as a journalist, to drop all charges, and to launch an investigation into the physical abuse she suffered upon her arrest,” stated Polak, underscoring the need for accountability and justice.
As the case unfolds, concerns continue to mount over the protection of journalists and freedom of the press in Somaliland. International attention remains focused on securing the release of Busharo and addressing the wider challenges faced by journalists striving to report on critical issues in the region.
On social media, use the hashtag #FreeBusharo