Uganda drops charges over gay play

2013-01-02 18:45
David Cecil (File, AP)

David Cecil (File, AP)

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Kampala - A Ugandan court on Wednesday dismissed charges against a British theatre producer accused of staging a play about gay people in the country without proper authorisation, his lawyer said, citing lack of evidence.

David Cecil, 34, had faced up to two years in prison on charges of "disobeying lawful orders". He was arrested in September and briefly jailed before being granted bail.

His lawyer John Francis Onyango said that no evidence was submitted to the court and his client was now free.

"The case was dismissed and David was given back his passport," Onyango told AFP. "The prosecutor has not presented any evidence and failed to sustain the case."

The groundbreaking play The River and The Mountain was performed at several venues around Kampala in August despite an injunction by Uganda's government-run media council.

The play examined the plight of a man coming out as a homosexual and the motivations of Uganda's vociferous anti-gay lobby.

Written by British playwright Beau Hopkins, it was directed and performed by Ugandans.

Homosexuality is already a crime in Uganda but proposed legislation currently before parliament would see the death penalty imposed for certain homosexual acts.

Although legislators have said the bill could be changed, in its current form, anyone caught engaging in homosexual acts for the second time, or engaging in gay sex where one partner is a minor or has HIV, would be sentenced to death.

Read more on:    uganda  |  east africa  |  gay rights
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