The state has expressed worries that if released on bail the eight Red Pepper directors and editors would publish more stories that would endanger security of the country.
Eight Red Pepper publications directors and editors including; Arinaitwe Rugyendo, Ben Byarabaha, Tumusiime Francis,Johson Musinguzi, Richard Tumusiime, Patrick Mugumya, James Mujuni and Richard Kintu, were charged with disturbing president Museveni’s peace through defamation before applying for bail.
However in response, the state prosecutor Abdu Salaam Waiswa on Tuesday told court that releasing the suspects on bail would be a grave mistake since it would stall investigations that are almost complete.
“There are serious charges against the accused and if released, they might join others still at large to ferment more endangering publications that would jeopardise the security of Kenya, Rwanda and the entire great lakes region,”Waiswa told court.
He cited an affidavit sworn by one of the investigators explaining that the case is a unique one committed using computer systems and electronic communication and releasing them on bail would allow them access to their phones, computers and emails and they would jeopardise investigations.
“The act of publishing headline story had potential of affecting security of these two nations and it was a serious actions of disregard of a duty of a journalist,”the state prosecutor said.
It is alleged that the group through the Red Pepper newspaper published a story titled ‘Museveni plans to overthrow Kagame’, a story that was not true and ridiculed the president. The state alleges that the said publication disturbed the peace of president Museveni.
According to the state, the group of eight is also accused of offensive communication in one of their publications where Gen.Salim Saleh, Lt.Gen Henry Tumukunde and president were reported as being behind a plot to overthrow Rwanda president Paul Kagame whereas not true.
Buganda road chief magistrate Jamea Mawanda Eremye is yet to deliver his ruling on the bail application.