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Red Pepper editors back in court for bail ruling

By Farooq Kasule

Added 19th December 2017 09:29 AM

The editors have spent close to a month in custody in Luzira Prison. The accused are battling seven counts of defamation and offensive communication

Red Pepper editors back in court for bail ruling

The editors have spent close to a month in custody in Luzira Prison. The accused are battling seven counts of defamation and offensive communication

Five directors and three editors of a local tabloid, the Red Pepper publications accused of defaming President Yoweri Museveni are expected to know their bail fate today.

The suspects are slated to appear before Buganda Road Court Chief Magistrate James Ereemye Mawanda, who will deliver a ruling on their bail application in the morning.

They are Arinaitwe Rugyendo, 41, Richard Kintu, 33, James Mujuni, 42, Patrick Mugumya, 40, Richard Tusiime, 45, Johnson Musinguzi alias Byarabaha, 44, Ben Byarabaha, 38, and Francis Tumusiime, 43.

They have spent close to a month in custody at Luzira Prison. The accused are battling seven counts of defamation and offensive communication in relation to a November 20, article headlined ‘M7 plots to overthrow Kagame'.

The state claims that the article portrayed the trio as plotting to overthrow the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame.

The state also accuses the suspects of defaming Gen. Salim Saleh and security minister Gen. Henry Tumukunde.   

Prosecution alleges that the accused on November 20, at their head offices in Mukono with intend to defame the trio unlawfully and without justification published an article dubbed "M7 plots to overthrow Kagame-Rwanda".

According to state, the publication injured the trio's reputation, disturbed their peace and also subjected them to hatred, contempt and ridicule.

The state further alleges that the accused also distributed a head line story regarding military operations strategy and troop location which publication is likely to disrupt public order and security.

Recently, state attorney AbdulSalam Waiswa who teamed up with Victoria Ssekandi asked court to deny the accused bail on grounds that they will interfere with investigations and intimidate witnesses.

He submitted that the charges against the accused are serious because it involves publication of information prejudicial to the national security, adding that the evidence so far gathered directly links the accused to the crime.

Waiswa explained that the publication exposes the security of Uganda, Rwanda and the entire great lakes region and court should keep them away from the public.

He further submitted that if the accused are granted bail, they might reconnect with their networks and disorganise the evidence collected so far.

However, defense lawyers led by Maxi Mutabingwa submitted that using a computer to publish a newspaper is not computer misuse as alleged by state.

Mutabingwa was assisted by Geoffrey Ntambirweki Kandeebe, Denis Nyombi and Erias Luyimbaazi Nalukoola.

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