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State seeks, given more time to analyse Red Pepper exhibits

Red Pepper offices is now a crime scene

The lawyer representing Pepper Publications Ltd, the publishers of Red Pepper and affiliated media platforms, Denis Nyombi has protested a court order allowing the continued siege of the company's offices in Namanve.

The protest follows a request for extension of time to analyze exhibits that were confiscated from Red Pepper offices by police in November last year. The request was made by prosecutors, in a case in which directors and editors of the Red Pepper are charged with libel, computer misuse and publication of a story prejudicial to national security.

The cases stem from 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.   

On trial are the founding directors of Pepper Publications; Arinaitwe Rugyendo, Patrick Mugumya, Johnson Musinguzi, Richard Tusiime and James Mujuni, and editors are Ben Byarabaha, Richard Kintu and Tumusiime Francis.

These were arrested on November 21 following a police raid of their offices in Namanve, along Jinja road.  They were arraigned before Buganda Road Court on November 27 and remanded to Luzira prison after a week in detention at Nalufenya police station in Jinja and granted bail after a month in detention. 

But the state, through the deputy assistant inspector of police Henry Peter Walya has asked court to allow it more time to analyze documents, computers and phones that were confiscated from Red pepper offices and obtain additional evidence to pin the eight journalists.

"The order is valid for a period not exceeding one months from the date of issue", reads part of the order.

But Nyombi told court presided over by Buganda Road Court Grade One Magistrate Samuel Kagoda that the order is a violation of the right to fair hearing. Magistrate Kagoda who had sat in for Chief Magistrate James Eremye Mawanda adjourned the matter to February 14, to allow the accused come up with a response to the state application.

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