Red Pepper publications editors denied bail

Red Pepper publications editors denied bail
Red Pepper Publication suspects in Court. Richard Kintu (2nd right) in court yesterday

Buganda Road court has denied bail the eight Red Pepper editors and directors accused of a publication prejudicial to national security purportedly to allow the state undertake thorough investigations on the matter.

The eight are charged with publication of a news story which is prejudicial to national security and publication of a story that defamed President Yoweri Museveni, his brother Gen Salim Saleh and security minister Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde.

They were also charged with the use of the electronic system to publish information that portrayed Museveni, Salim Saleh and Tumukunde as if they are planning to overthrow Rwanda President Paul Kagame. Prosecutors argue that the report subjected the trio to ridicule, contempt and hatred.

The charges refer to a story published by Red Pepper last week, Monday indicating that Museveni was plotting to overthrow Kagame.

Arinaitwe Rugyendo, Patrick Mugumya, Johnson Musinguzi, Richard Tusiime James Mujuni, Ben Byarabaha, Richard Kintu and Francis Tumusiime denied the charges.

The suspects were arrested on Tuesday after a police siege at the Red Pepper offices in Namanve. They were later detained at the dreaded Nalufenya detention facility in Jinja.

Today, they appeared before the court and applied for bail through their lawyer Maxim Mutabingwa. He told the court that the charges read against his clients are bailable by the court and that since the investigations are not complete, the trial may not kick off soon.

He also told the court that all the accused are directors or editors who stay in Kampala and are law-abiding citizens. Each of the accused presented two sureties.

However, their application for bail was thwarted by state prosecutor Abdu Salaam Waiswa who asked for more time to scrutinize the documents presented by their sureties. He asked the court to remand them investigations continue.

Buganda Court Grade 1 Magistrate James Ereemye adjourned the matter to December 5, to allow the prosecution to respond to the bail application presented to the court by the lawyers of the accused.