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Red Pepper Editors Returned to Luzira :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Red Pepper Editors Returned to Luzira

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The five directors and three editors of The Red Pepper have been returned to Luzira until December 19th when Buganda Road Court chief magistrate James Ereemye Mawanda will make a ruling on their bail application. The arrest was triggered by a story published in The Red Pepper issue of November 20 indicating that President Yoweri Museveni was plotting to overthrow his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame.
The Red Pepper editors and directors have been sent back to Luzira Prisons.
The five directors and three editors of The Red Pepper have been returned to Luzira until December 19th when Buganda Road Court chief magistrate James Ereemye Mawanda will make a ruling on their bail application.

Mawanda said today he wants time to examine documents submitted in court by the accused and state prosecution. As he announced that he needed time, Maxim Mutabingwa, the lead lawyer representing The Red Pepper editors asked for an interim bail for the accused which was rejected.

The founding directors including Arinaitwe Rugyendo, Patrick Mugumya, Johnson Musinguzi, Richard Tusiime and James Mujuni, and editors are Ben Byarabaha, Richard Kintu and Tumusiime Francis were arrested on November 21st following police raid of their offices in Namanve, along Jinja Road.

The raid and arrest was triggered by a story published in The Red Pepper issue of November 20 indicating that President Yoweri Museveni was plotting to overthrow his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame.   

They were arraigned before Buganda Road on November 27th and remanded to Luzira Prisons after a week in detention at Nalufenya Police Station in Jinja. They face three counts of libel, three counts of computer misuse and one count of publication of a story prejudicial to national security.

Mr Abdul -Salam Waiswa, the prosecutor from the Uganda Communications Commission submitted an affidavit sworn by Detective Assistant Commissioner of Police Isaac Okecho opposing the bail application.

"…We vehemently oppose the bail application because the investigations are still going on. And considering the nature of the offences committed, if the suspects are released, they may commit more offences. We submit that the offences committed by the accused are very serious because they involve publication of information prejudicial to national security," Waiswa said.

The investigations, Waiswa said could be concluded in two weeks, arguing that the accused, if released now, “may reorganise and connect with other suspects who are still at large to frustrate investigations.”

Waiswa noted that though the accused may not be directly responsible for insecurity, their action of publishing the story had a potential of not only affecting security of Uganda and Rwanda but the entire Great Lakes region.

Mutabingwa told court that "the affidavit of Okecho Isaac contains mere rumours, speculations and fears of the investigating officer which cannot be based on to deny the accused bail."

He argued that the state prosecutor and the investigating officers talk as if the accused are already convicts yet they are still suspects until proved otherwise.

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