Three Ugandan journalists are facing treason charges over the publication of a story alleging that President Yoweri Museveni was planning to overthrow the government of Rwanda.
The journalists who work for the Red Pepper newspaper were charged along with five directors of the Pepper Publications Group. They are also charged with disturbing the peace of the president and others according to a charge sheet.
“According to the charge and caution statement read to them, they will be charged with offensive communication, disturbing the peace of president Museveni, Salim Saleh and Security Minister Henry Tumukunde. The main charge preferred against them is treason,” one of their lawyer told local news portal, the Daily Monitor.
The affected journalists are Ben Byarabaha (Managing Editor), Richard Kintu (News Editor) and Francis Tumusiime (also News Editor). Along with the directors, they are all held at a prison facility pending appearance in court.
The Monday November 20, 2017 publication titled ‘M7 (Museveni) plotting to overthrow Kagame – Rwanda’ added that Kigali intelligence had also mentioned Uganda’s security minister, an army general and France as being part of the plot.
The charges are what detectives have proffered and is subject to a final decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions. They were arrested barely 24 hours after the publication came out. Rwanda has not commented on the issue in any capacity as yet.
Under Ugandan laws, any persons who publish or cause to be published any story that threatens or compromises national security or threatens public safety, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a prison term not exceeding seven years.