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‘Gay’ play producer out on bail in Uganda

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Ad for “The River & the Mountain”

A court in Kampala, Uganda, today released British citizen David Cecil on bail after he spent the weekend in jail on charges related to his showing of a play about a gay businessman.

Cecil is accused of “disobeying lawful orders” last month from the Uganda Media Council not to produce the play “The River and The Mountain,” which was performed at Cecil’s bar and arts center in Kampala.

Cecil’s lawyer, John Francis Onyango, said Cecil was in good condition, Agence France Presse reported.  Bail was set at about $200.

Further court action is scheduled in mid-October, with a prison sentence of up to two years possible if Cecil is convicted.

Cecil, 34, must stay in Uganda unless he gets court permission to leave, Onyango said.  He was arrested and jailed last week.

The play depicts church and government officials in Uganda as using the issue of homosexuality for political purposes. The Media Council has banned the play, saying that  sections of it “implicitly promote homosexual acts” that “are contrary to the laws, cultural norms and values of Uganda.”

Under current Ugandan law, homosexual activity is punishable by up to seven years in prison. Uganda’s controversial so-called “Kill the Gays Bill” would increase that penalty and, if enacted in its current form, would call for a death sentence for repeat offenders.

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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