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Uganda: British producer of gay play due in court

November 21, 2012
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British theatre producer David Cecil, who was arrested in September for staging a play that featured a gay storyline, is due before a Ugandan court on Thursday, according to the campaign group Index on Censorship.

The play – the main character of which was a gay businessman killed by his own employees – was performed at two theatres in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, in August.

Mr Cecil, 34, faces two years in jail if convicted.

He is charged with ‘‘disobeying lawful orders’’ of the Uganda Media Council after refusing to let officials review the play, the River and the Mountain.

The producer, who has lived in Uganda for two years, has always maintained that the performance was not politically motivated.

“We had minor problems – criticism, perhaps abuse, but nothing on this scale,” International Business Times reports Mr Cecil as saying.

“We were warned, but since the play is not politically motivated, nor does it in any way promote homosexuality or criticise the government, we were not remotely worried.

“Anyone who saw the play – locals, expats, academics, even clergy – was deeply shocked at my arrest. It is a comedy drama, not an advocacy piece.”

A petition calling for the charges against Mr Cecil to be dropped has been signed by more than 2,500 people, including Stephen Fry, Sandi Toksvig and Simon Callow.

Mr Cecil’s case comes amid a threat by Uganda’s parliamentary speaker to pass the country’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill before Christmas.

Related topics: Africa, Africa, David Cecil, International Business Times, Uganda, Uganda

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