Uganda releases David Cecil, British theater producer jailed over gay play


British theatre producer David Cecil waves from a court cell at the Makindye Court on September 13, 2012 in kampala, after being arrested for staging a play about a gay man despite a temporary ban by the country's media authorities. The groundbreaking play, titled "The River and The Mountain," was performed at several venues around Kampala last month despite an injunction by Uganda's media council, the government media authority, which had placed a temporary ban on the play pending review of the script.



David Cecil, a British theater producer, has been freed on bail in Uganda after being arrested over a play about a gay man.

Ugandan police jailed Cecil last Thursday on charges he "disobeyed lawful orders" because the play "The River and the Mountain" was performed without official approval.

The play features the main character of a young Ugandan businessman who is killed by his employees after revealing he is gay. It was performed last month at two theaters in Kampala, the capital.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda, and gays and lesbians have long faced serious discrimination. A bill that proposes increasing jail terms to life is currently before the Ugandan parliament.

Cecil spent the weekend at Luzira prison and was freed Monday morning on bail of 500,000 shillings ($200), and had to surrender his passport, the Ugandan Daily Monitor reported.

The newspaper said he staged the play despite it not having received script approval from the country's Media Council.

According to the Daily Monitor, the Media Council "after sampling some of the excerpts of the play, it branded it ‘obnoxious'."

"The Council further states that the play depicts Uganda as a country full of intolerant and violent people who take the law into their own hands as and when it suits their selfish purposes especially in regard to people with homosexual tendencies," the newspaper report said.

Cecil is to appear again in court on October 18, and faces up to two years in jail if convicted, the Associated Press reported.

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