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.
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.
Waiswa informed court that if the suspects are left 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.
“…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.
Waiswa added that court should also take into account the gravity and seriousness 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 eight were sent on remand at Luzira prison last week on Monday over charges of allegdly publishing information prejudical to security , libel and offensive communication to the person of president M7 and his brother Gen. Salim Saleh.
The 5 directors include ; Richard Tusiime ; the Managing Director, Johnson Musinguzi the Finance Director, Patrick Mugumya ; The Director Operations and Arinatiwe Rugyendo; a director who also doubles as a secretary and chief marketing officer.
Others are ; Richard Kintu; the Deputy News Editor , Ben Byarabaha a senior Editor Francis Tumusiime; the special project Editor and James Mujuni a journalist.
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.