Kampala, 06th/December/2017: The jailed five (5) Red Pepper Directors and three (3) senior Editors have been sent back on remand at Luzira prison for another two weeks until the 19th/ December 2017.
The eight were first sent on remand at Luzira prison last week over charges of allegedly publishing information prejudicial to security, libel and offensive communication to the person of President Yoweri Museveni, his young brother Gen. Salim Saleh and Minister Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde.
The presiding Buganda Road Court Chief Magistrate James Ereemye Mawanda adjourned his bail ruling to the 19th/December 2017 on grounds that the submissions made by both State and defence counsel were lengthy and hence he requires more time to peruse them.
The state is represented by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) lawyer Abdul-Salam Waiswa who asked court not to release the suspects on bail for fear of repetitive offending and endangering national security.
Waiswa who quoted the affidavit of the investigating officer, Detective Assistant Commissioner of police Isaac Oketcho, informed court that if the suspects are let free to gain access to their computers, e-mails and mobile phones, there is a likelihood of re-connecting with their networks to frustrate the on-going investigations.
Waiswa told court that the suspects were facing grave charges of the offense of publishing information prejudicial to national security allegedly committed by the suspects which shows that they are a danger to Uganda, Rwanda and the entire great lakes region security once released on bail.
The State alleges that the accused on the 20th /Novemever 2017 at the Red pepper offices in Namanve, Mukono district, unlawfully caused publication and distribution of a newspaper head line regarding the military operations, strategies and troop location well knowing that such publication can disrupt public Order and security.
In the libel charge, the accused are said to have caused publication and distribution of newspaper story lines that injured the reputations of President Yoweri Museveni, his brother Gen. Salim Saleh and security minister Lt.Gen Henery Tumukunde which publication allegedly subjected the trio to hatred, contempt and ridicule.
They are further said to have willfully and repeatedly used their computers for no legitimate purposes to disturb the peace and privacy of President Museveni, Gen Saleh and Lt Gen Tumukunde by portraying them as people who contrived a plot to over throw the president of the Republic of Rwanda.
The Red Pepper premises based at Namanve in Mukono district have remained closed since 20th November, 2017 when it was declared a crime scene and surrounded by the Counter Terrorism Unit of Uganda Police.
“We look at this continued imprisonment as a deliberate economic sabotage and an assault on the media. Its boarders on selective application of the law which translates to persecution of the Red pepper journalists. The media has lately faced so many challenges including closure, censorship, harassment and intimidation. This situation points to tougher times for the media in Uganda.” Said the HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator, Robert Ssempala