BY UTN REPORTER
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mike Chibita has withdrawn charges against the Red Pepper publication staff.
This brings to an end the criminal prosecution of the publication’s proprietors and its editors at Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court after the Red Pepper published an article five months ago quoting reports that President Museveni’s government were plotting to overthrow his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame.
In a letter signed by the Director of Public Prosecutions, the DPP Michael Chibita decided to discontinue proceedings against Arinaitwe Rugyendo, Richard Kintu, James Mujuni, Patrick Mugumya, Richard Tusiime, Johnson Musinguzi, Ben Byarabaha and Francis Tumusiime charged with Publication of Information Prejudicial to security and libel and offensive communication C/S 25 of the Computer Misuse Act, 2011.
The state Prosecutor in this case had argued the accused published and distributed newspaper story lines that injured the reputations of President Museveni, his brother Gen Salim Saleh and the former security minister Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde, which publication allegedly subjected the three people to hatred, contempt and ridicule.
Following the withdrawal of the Case by the DPP, the Trial Magistrate had no option but to dismiss the matter.
The trial of the Red Pepper staff attracted condemnation from human rights groups, media and general public with many saying the state’s action threatened editorial independence of Media.
The accused were detained at Luzira Prison for about three weeks as police searched the Red Pepper Publications sealed off premises in Namanve.
The Red Pepper later return to the streets after its Managers met with President Museveni at State House Entebbe.