Uganda postpones trial of British gay play producer David Cecil

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, November 22, 2012 8:59 EDT
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David Cecil waves from a court cell at the Makindye Court in Kampala (AFP_File, Isaac Kasamani)
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A Ugandan court on Thursday postponed the trial of a British theatre producer for staging a play about a gay man without proper authorisation until early next year, his lawyer said.

David Cecil — who faces up to two years in jail if found guilty — was arrested in September on two counts, including one of “disobeying lawful orders” and briefly jailed before being granted bail.

“The trial was adjourned until January 2 after the prosecution said that the police are still carrying out investigations,” said John Francis Onyango, Cecil’s lawyer.

Onyango said that the court had granted Cecil, 34, a request to travel to Britain ahead of the next hearing.

The groundbreaking play “The River and The Mountain” was performed at several venues around Kampala in August despite an injunction by Uganda’s government-run media council. It had issued a temporary ban on the play pending review of the script.

The play examines the plight of a man coming out as a homosexual and the motivations of Uganda’s vociferous anti-gay lobby.

Written by British playwright Beau Hopkins, it was directed and performed by Ugandans.

Homosexuality is already a crime in Uganda but proposed legislation currently before parliament would see the death penalty introduced for certain homosexual acts.

Although legislators have said the bill could be changed, in its current form, anyone caught engaging in homosexual acts for the second time, or engaging in gay sex where one partner is a minor or has HIV, would be sentenced to death.

Public discussion promoting homosexuality — including by rights groups — would be punished by up to seven years in jail.

Agence France-Presse
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