Court has further remanded Red Pepper directors and editors. They are Arinaitwe Rugyendo, Patrick Mugumya, Johnson Musinguzi, Richard Tusiime and James Mujuni, while the editors include Ben Byarabaha, Richard Kintu and Francis Tumusiime.
The eight were arrested on November 20, 2017 following a police raid on the Red Pepper headquarters in Namanve in Wakiso district. The raid was triggered by a story published in the Red Pepper titled, “M7 plotting to overthrow Kagame – Rwanda.”
They were arraigned before Buganda Road Chief magistrate on November 27th where they were charged with three accounts of libel, three accounts computer misuse and one account of publication of a story prejudicial to national security.
They were remanded to Luzira prison. On Tuesday morning, the suspects appeared before Buganda Road Chief Magistrate, James Ereemye Mawanda for their bail application ruling. But Mawanda said he needed more time to examine the documents submitted by the accused and state prosecution.
He rejected an application by the accused’s lawyer, Maxim Mutabingwa for interim bail. The state Prosecutor, Abdul -Salam Waiswa, a lawyer with Uganda Communications Commission submitted an affidavit sworn by Assistant commissioner of Police Isaac Okecho opposing the bail application.
“Our position as contained in the affidavit by Okecho Isaac is that 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,” he argued.
“We submit that the offences committed by the accused are very serious because they involve publication of information prejudicial to national security,” he added. He explained that the investigations could be concluded within two weeks.
“We raise concern that if the accused are released, they many reorganise and connects with other suspects who are still at large to frustrate investigations,” Waiswa told court.
He argued that although the suspects may not be directly responsible for insecurity, “their action of publishing the story had potential of not only affecting security of Uganda and Rwanda but the entire great lakes region.”
However, Maxim Mutabingwa rejected the submission, saying “the affidavit only contains mere rumors, speculations and fears of the investigating officer which cannot be based on to deny the accused bail.”