Five directors and three editors of Red Pepper Publications have today, Monday been arraigned in Buganda Road court, almost a week after they were arrested over a tabloid story about relations between Uganda and Rwanda.
They have been charged with offensive communication, publication of information prejudicial to security and libel over last week's story about the plot to overthrow the Rwandan government.
Among the charged are; Arinaitwe Rugyendo (director/secretary and chief marketing officer), Richard Kintu (deputy news editor), James Mujuni (journalist), Patrick Mugumya (director operations), Richard Tusiime (managing director), Johnson Musingunzi (director finance), Ben Byarabaha (senior editor), Francis Tumusiime (special project editor).
The story titled ‘M7 plotting to overthrow Kagame - Rwanda’ (Monday, November 20) with the kicker ‘Kigali intelligence also pins Saleh, Tumukunde & France on Kagame coup plot’ seemed to have rubbed government the wrong way. It has since labelled the story as false.
The following day on Tuesday, police raided the Red Pepper offices and arrested the eight proprietors and editors, detaining them at the dreaded Nalufenya detention facility. Their homes were also searched, all office computers and mobile phones taken and police reportedly forced them to reveal passwords for their computers and emails.
Prosecution alleges that the accused injured the reputation of Lt. General Henry Tumukunde and also subjected him to hatred, contempt and ridicule.
Under offensive communication charge, the suspects are accused of disturbing the peace, quiet and privacy of Uganda President Yoweri Museveni, his brother Gen Salim Saleh and security minister Gen Tumukunde by portraying them as plotting to over Rwanda President, Paul Kagame.
Earlier, police had intimidated that it would charge the suspects with treason, but that seems to have been dropped by the Director of Public Prosecution, Mike Chibita.