Uganda says to deport British producer of gay play

KAMPALA Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:47pm IST

Related Topics

Rajalakshmi (C), 28, smiles after winning the Miss Wheelchair India beauty pageant in Mumbai November 26, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Miss Wheelchair India

Seven women from across India participated in the country's second wheelchair beauty pageant, which aims to open doors for the wheelchair-bound in modelling, film and television, according to organisers  Slideshow 

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."

Florence Kebirungi, Cecil's partner, said he was arrested at her business premises in the capital, Kampala, on Wednesday, and that immigration officers have told her to book him a ticket out of the country.

She said Cecil was being held in a Kampala prison that wasn't allowing visitors over the weekend, and that his phone has been switched off.

Cecil had planned to stay in Kampala, where he helps Kebirungi run a cultural centre that stages plays and concerts.

He had applied for a work permit which was being processed, and had planned to take the contested play, The River and the Mountain, on tour including to Kenya, South Africa and Washington, Kebirungi said.

Uganda's commissioner for immigration and legal services, Josephine Ekwang, said the country's immigration act allows the deportation of any foreigner "declared by the government as an undesirable immigrant."

Countries including the United States have criticised an anti-homosexuality bill currently before the Ugandan parliament. The bill seeks to impose jail terms of up to life imprisonment for some homosexual activities. Germany cut off aid to Uganda late last year citing the bill as one of its concerns.

(Writing by James Macharia; Editing by Ruth Pitchford)

FILED UNDER:

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Ferguson Riots

Ferguson Riots

Streets of Ferguson quiet after two nights of racial unrest.  Full Article 

Sedition Act

Sedition Act

Malaysia to retain and prop up Sedition Act, says PM.  Full Article 

Hong Kong Protests

Hong Kong Protests

Hong Kong student leader banned from Mong Kok protest site.  Full Article 

Poll Pushed Back

Poll Pushed Back

Thai election pushed back to 2016 - deputy PM.  Full Article 

Taiwan Election

Taiwan Election

Taiwan vote tests waters for pro-China govt ahead of presidential polls  Full Article 

Rakhine Plight

Rakhine Plight

Exclusive - Poor and besieged, Myanmar's Rakhine join Rohingya exodus  Full Article 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola vaccine from Glaxo passes early safety test  Full Article 

Korea Ferry Crew

Korea Ferry Crew

Stigma and isolation haunt S.Korean families of convicted ferry crew  Full Article 

Zero Tolerance

Zero Tolerance

China takes "zero tolerance" approach to regional polluters: Cabinet.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage