British man jailed for producing Uganda gay play

Media Council banned the play after saying it was 'contrary to the laws, cultural norms and values of Uganda'

British man jailed for producing Uganda gay play
14 September 2012

A British man who produced a play about being gay in Uganda is in jail.

David Cecil is being charged with ‘disobeying lawful orders’ from the Uganda Media Council, which says he staged the play in Uganda’s capital Kampala last month, reports the Associated Foreign Press. 

Cecil’s lawyer, Francis Onyango, said his client was not released on bail because his passport, wanted by the magistrate, had been confiscated by the police.

The play, ‘The River and the Mountain’, whose main character is a gay businessman who is killed by his own employees, was performed eight times in small theatres.

A first for Uganda, it was praised by gay rights activists who said it was ‘revolutionary’.

The Media Council banned the play after the performances on 29 August, saying sections ‘implicitly promote homosexual acts’ which are ‘contrary to the laws, cultural norms and values of Uganda.’

Cecil said he went with staging the play because the Media Council’s initial warning letter made no reference to any legal consequences.

‘I really didn’t mean to insult anyone, and I am not a rights advocate. I only wanted to open up dialogue,’ he said.

Cecil, who faces two years in jail if convicted, said he was singled out for legal action because he had become the play’s public face.

The play was written by a British student, Beau Hopkins, who also faces imprisonment.

Cecil said he felt he had ‘fallen into the trap’ of the local powers who gladly seize any chance to tell locals the abomination of homosexuality is being ‘imported’ by westerners.

‘This is ironic because it is exactly the theme of our play,’ he said. ‘This, again ironically, shows that our play contains some kind of truth.’

Male and female homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, and Catholic bishops are calling for a revival of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which proposes for the execution of gays in the African country.

UPDATE: Speaking to Gay Star News, a spokesman for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed the arrest. He could only reassure worried friends and relatives they are providing consular assistance, which may include replacing Cecil’s confiscated passport.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Tim Gunn blasts NYC carriage drivers for 'relentless, hateful bigotry' including anti-gay slurs

Project Runway guru calls on Mayor Bill de Blasio to address the problem
No thumbnail available

With Harold nowhere in sight, Kumar addresses Democratic National Convention

He describes Obama as a boss who is 'cool with people getting gay married'
No thumbnail available

Mexican Catholic bishop says homophobes are the sick ones not gay people

Raul Vera Lopez, Catholic bishop of Saltillo, has said that it is homophobia, not gay people that is a sickness in society
No thumbnail available

Deadline looms for London gay pride bids

People interested in running LGBT pride in London have just three days for the deadline for bids closes
No thumbnail available

New program aims to reduce anti-LGBTI hate crime in Seattle

Seattle's openly gay mayor said the city has 'no place for bigotry or harassment'
No thumbnail available

Maltese bishop Charles Scicluna says gay sex has no role in society

Maltese Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna has hit out at plans to allow civil unions for same-sex couples, saying gay sex has no role to play in society as same-sex couples can’t have children without assistance
The Warwick Rowers are back, raising money for gay rights, and they're more naked than ever

The Warwick Rowers are back, raising money for gay rights, and they're more naked than ever

Not suitable for work: We have got seven shots teasing their 2016 naked calendar
No thumbnail available

Campaign launched to save London gay bar Royal Vauxhall Tavern

Historic iconic venue, which featured in the film Pride, is at risk of closing
No thumbnail available

Mexico effectively legalizes same-sex marriage

Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriage bans are illegal
No thumbnail available

Russia refuses to find thug who blinded gay man in one eye

Amnesty International have called on the Russian authorities to arrest the masked men responsible for the terror attack in St Petersburg