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"The Independent" editors charged with sedition

(Media Institute/IFEX) - Two editors of Uganda's weekly newsmagazine, "The Independent", have been arrested, charged with sedition and released by Court on bail on 23 September 2009.

"The Independent"'s Managing Editor Andrew Mujuni Mwenda and Editor Charles Bichachi were asked to report to Kiira Road Police Station, near their office in Kamwokya, about four kilometers from Kampala City centre.

From Kiira Road Police, the two were taken to the police's Criminal Investigations Department (CID) headquarters in Kibuli. Within minutes, the journalists were taken to the Buganda Road Chief Magistrate's Court and charged with sedition.

Their charge stems from a cartoon the magazine published on 21 August showing President Yoweri Museveni seated in a chair ticking a list of things his party is doing ahead of the 2011 General Election. One such thing is the introduction of ghosts on the voters' register after re-appointing the Electoral Commission.

The two, represented by Kampala lawyer Bob Kasango, were each granted a US$100 cash bail. Patrick wa Mucoori ("The Independent" news editor), Godrick Dambyo ("The Independent" advertising manager) and Hussein Kashilingi (lawyer) stood surety for them.

This is the fourth case Mwenda, founder of the 21-month old "The Independent", faces in court. He is already charged with promoting sectarianism, sedition and incitement. He risks over 20 years in jail on conviction in all the cases.

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