Somaliland lawmaker Ahmed Khalif has pointed fingers at Mohamed Muse Bihi, the elder son of Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi, for his alleged involvement in the arbitrary detention and persecution of journalist Busharo Ali Mohamed.

Held in custody since May 15 in Hargeisa, Busharo’s case has taken a chilling turn as lawmaker Khalif revealed to have met Mohamed Muse Bihi, the elder son of president Bihi, at the Ambassador Hotel at approximately June 25.

According to Khalif, the president’s son admitted to being responsible for targeting Busharo and asserted that only he had the authority to secure her release.

“I followed her movements until she came from Jigjiga. I was the one who arrested her. I asked her if Mohamed Kaahin [Minister of the Interior] would release her. He hit the table and said, ‘By God, he dare not release her’,” revealed MP Ahmed Khalif during his interaction with local media.

This revelation brings to light the role of Mohamed Muse Bihi, who not only wields significant power as the president’s son but also operates in the shadows as the clandestine head of Somaliland’s intelligence service.

Allegations have previously surfaced regarding his involvement in targeting politicians and human rights advocates critical of the state.

Busharo Ali Mohamed, a 29-year-old British-Somali freelance journalist, was apprehended on May 15 as she entered Somaliland from Ethiopia in Wajaale town. Her purpose was to cover local stories in her hometown of Bur’o.

According to her lawyers and press freedom groups, her detention has been marked by alleged torture, leading to injuries on her leg and face.

In a heartfelt plea to President Bihi, Busharo’s family implored for her immediate release. “I appeal to the president. There is no single crime my daughter has committed. She is held just for her freedom of expression, and we know it is a politically motivated case. I ask you Mr. President to free my daughter today,” beseeched Hinda Mohamed Awale, Busharo’s mother.

Busharo’s lawyers have voiced grave concerns about her deteriorating health during continued persecution and detention.

Their assertion is further supported by the fact that she has been taken to court 12 times, yet not formally charged on nine of those occasions. This suggests a prolonged strategy by the persecutor’s office to prolong her police custody.

Initially charged with offenses such as the “Disclosure of Information the Divulgation of Which Has Been Prohibited” and “Publication or Circulation of False, Exaggerated or Tendencious News Capable of Disturbing Public Order,” Busharo’s charges were subsequently amended, as reported by the Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS).

On July 18, three new charges were added, including “committing anti-state crimes as a citizen abroad,” “spreading propaganda and fake news to tarnish the reputation of Somaliland,” and “criticizing the deputy president of Somaliland.”

These developments, according to SJS, highlight a deeply political and targeted effort against Busharo, driven by her critical reporting on her Facebook toward President Muse Bihi and his autocratic administration.

Source Horn Observer