Uganda says to deport British producer of gay play

Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:18pm EST
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By Philippa Croome

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Ugandan authorities said on Monday they plan to deport a British theatre producer who was charged last year with staging a play about homosexuality.

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda and David Cecil, 35, was charged with disobeying a public official last September after ignoring official orders to cancel a theatre production with a gay leading character.

A court dropped the charges against him last month due to lack of evidence. Cecil, who denied being a gay rights activist, would have faced two to four years in jail if convicted.

Even so, "the process of removing him from the country is on," Uganda's director for immigration, Godfrey Sasagah, told Reuters on Monday.

"He's going to be removed from the country ... this was a decision that was taken by the minister (of internal affairs) ... and we have prepared the relevant papers."

British High Commission spokesperson Chris Ward said it was aware of Cecil's detention and providing him with "consular assistance".

Fridah Mutesi, one of Cecil's lawyers and a gay rights activist, told Reuters she would file an appeal against deportation in the high court this week. Mutesi said Ugandan officials had not allowed the lawyers to see the grounds for the deportation.

"We're in the process of challenging the whole deportation," she said. "If they're relying on the previous case, that case was dismissed."   Continued...