Kampala, 19th/December/2017; Jailed five Red Pepper Directors and three Editors have been released on a non-cash bail of twenty million shillings (USD 5,555) each, the same amount for each of their sixteen sureties if the accused persons jump bail.
The Grade One Magistrate Samuel Kagoda delivered the ruling at Buganda Road Court saying he was instructed to read the ruling on behalf of the Chief Magistrate James Ereemye Mawanda, who was away in Entebbe attending a judicial officers’ training.
The parties in court had to wait from 9am to midday with uncertainty looming around the release of the journalists, due to lack of communication as to whether the ruling was ready for reading or not, this left a fully packed courtroom in suspense.
Much as the Red Pepper journalists have been released on bail, the Publication’s premises have remained shut-down by the State.
The State alleges that the accused on the 20th/ November 2017 at the Red pepper offices in Namanve, Mukono district, unlawfully caused the publication and distribution of a newspaper headline regarding the military operations, strategies and troop location of Uganda well knowing that such a publication can disrupt public order and security. In the libel charge, the accused persons 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 Henry Tumukunde which publication allegedly subjected the trio to hatred, contempt and ridicule.
The matter was adjourned to 19th/January, 2018 for mention as investigations are underway.
“We are very happy for the release of our colleagues on bail after their long pre-trial detention by the State. We have noted that much as the charges labelled against the journalists were bailable by the same court, it has taken too long to have them released, which prompted HRNJ-Uganda to seek audience with the Internal Affairs Minister Gen. Jeje Odongo. Now that our colleagues are out, we have refocused our energies to ensuring the re-opening of the Red Pepper premises at Namanve. We call on government to re-open the Red Pepper.” Said the HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator, Robert Ssempala