Uganda postpones trial of gay play producer

David Cecil allowed to leave country until trial resumes in January, while Uganda debates 'kill the gays' bill

Uganda postpones trial of gay play producer
23 November 2012

A British man in Uganda who faces two years in jail for producing a play about a gay businessman has had his court case postponed.

Producer David Cecil was charged on 13 September with two counts, including one of ‘disobeying lawful orders’. He was jailed for four nights before being released on bail.

The play called The River and the Mountain is about a gay businessman who is killed by his own employees,

It was performed eight times in small theatres before being banned by authorities for ‘implicitly promoting homosexual acts’ which are ‘contrary to the laws, cultural norms and values of Uganda.’

Cecil’s plight has caught the attention of campaigners around the world, with celebrities including Stephen Fry backing a petition which calls on the Ugandan government to stop his persecution and to uphold the right to freedom of expression.

The 34-year-old’s case has been postponed until January 2013 and according to Sky News, the court will allow Cecil to leave the country. However, his family will have to stay in Uganda as a guarantee of his return.

It is believed the trial has been halted because of the debate over the government’s proposed ‘kill the gays’ law.

While gay sex is already a crime in Uganda, the legislation would see the death penalty introduced for ‘aggravated homosexuality’.

While some reports suggest the bill has been amended to make life imprisonment the maximum sentence, versions in the public eye and sources within the country maintain that the death sentence could still be applied in some circumstances.

Parliament will debate the law in the next few weeks after speaker Rebecca Kadaga announced to the world they would push through the legislation as a ‘Christmas present’.

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