Uganda deports British theatre producer of gay play

Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:46am EST
 
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By Philippa Croome

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Uganda has deported a British theatre producer charged with staging a play about homosexuality, the British High Commission said on Tuesday.

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda and further legislation on the issue, awaiting debate in parliament, has drawn criticism from donors including the United States.

Producer David Cecil, 35, was deported from the east African country late on Monday aboard a KLM flight, and arrived in the UK on Tuesday morning, British High Commission spokesperson Chris Ward said.

A court threw out a case against Cecil last month. He had been charged with disobeying a public official last September after ignoring orders to cancel a theatre production with a gay leading character.

Cecil, who denied being a gay rights activist, could have faced two to four years in jail in the religiously conservative country if convicted.

"We are extremely disappointed and obviously concerned that David was being deported without being given an opportunity to challenge the deportation order which would be through the Ugandan courts," Ward told Reuters.

He said he had not arranged a meeting with Ugandan officials yet "but we fully intend to do so. It's obviously key ... (for) the UK government to know that due process is being followed."

Immigration officials were not available for comment after the deportation, but have told Reuters there was a direct ministerial order to deport Cecil. A spokesperson said the ministry would issue a statement later.   Continued...