KAMPALA — The Buganda Road Magistrate Court has Tuesday released on bail the five directors and three editors of the Red Pepper Publication Ltd.
The eight have been in detention for a month.
Magistrate Grade 1, Kagoda, reading the ruling on behalf of Chief Magistrate James Ereemye Mawanda, said the eight had produced substantial sureties and investigations were still ongoing.
“I am also mindful of the fact that they are innocent until proved otherwise,” the magistrate wrote.
He released them on a non-cash bond of Shs20m each, the same condition as their sureties and ordered them to deposit their passports.
They will re-appear in court on January 19 for mention of their case and to answer their bond, court ruled.
Three weeks ago, the directors and the editors were charged with seven counts – in relation to publication of information prejudicial to national security; criminal libel; and offensive communication.
Court started to hear their application for bail two weeks when they appeared for the first time still in court. Their lawyers MaxMutabingwa, Geoffrey Kandeebe and Dennis Nyombi, applied for ba. But the directors and the editors were sent to Luzira Prison, until December 19 when the court will give a ruling on the application after prosecution made objections.
Last month, the directors of the local tabloid and the editors were detained at Nalufenya Police station, after Police cordoned off their head offices as crime of scene at Namanve, Mukono Municipality. Up to now the premises are still closed.
Those now on trial are Richard Tusiime, the Managing Director, Rugyendo Arinaitwe, the Editorial Director, Francis Tumusiime, the general manager, Johnson Musinguzi, the Chief Finance Officer and Patrick Mugumya, the Chief Operations officer and James Mujuni, the Chief Commercial Officer.
The State accuses them of publishing article on November 20 2017, pointing at President Yoweri Museveni, his brother Gen. Salim Saleh and security minister Lt. Gen. Tumukunde for plotting to throw the government of President Kagame. This according to charge sheet, the information injured the reputation of the President and Gen. Saleh.
Their sureties are Richard Muhangi, Edwin Muzahura, Obed Akiriho, Alex. B.Atuhaire and Giles Muhame, among others.
Since last month, RedPepper and other products published by the same media house have not on the market today. The radio station, Juice FM and the online publication were also shut down.
“The RedPepper offices are scene of crime and it has been cordoned off, to facilitate these investigations and remain as long as it’s necessary,” said Emilian Kayima, the Police spokesperson.
Many journalists and media houses are living in fear, since CMI started to arrest some top Police officials.
Some have been summoned to appear before CID Police headquarters, Kibuli for interrogations on issues related to infringing the peace of IGP Gen Kale Kayihura