Uganda deports British gay play producer

Uganda has deported a British theatre producer who last year staged a play about homosexuality, which is illegal in Uganda, the British High Commission said Tuesday.

David Cecil was arrested in September on charges of disobeying orders to cancel the staging of a play whose main character was a gay man. He was briefly jailed before being granted bail.

In January a court dropped the charges for lack of proof.

"We have confirmation of deportation," High Commission spokesman Chris Ward told AFP.

"We are quite concerned that he has not had the opportunity for due process under the Ugandan system," he added.

Cecil's partner Florence Kebirungi, who has two children with him, said he was likely "already back in the UK."

She said he was taken on Monday evening from the police station where he was being held to the capital's main airport, where he was put on a flight for Britain.

"He called me from the airport, he didn't sound OK," she said, adding that immigration officials told her that Cecil was being deported because he was an "undesirable" person.

"It is a big surprise as we did not have a chance to make a legal challenge," she told AFP.

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. It had issued a temporary ban on the play pending review of the script.

The play examines 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 introduced 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.

Public discussion promoting homosexuality -- including by rights groups -- would be punished by up to seven years in jail.

  • 2015 Nissan Murano aims for the style-forward crowd 45 minutes ago
    2015 Nissan Murano aims for the style-forward crowd

    Nissan says its 2015 Murano crossover, only the second major revamp of the car since it debuted in 2003, draws its design cues from the “age of future space flight.” That’s probably taking it a little far, but the new Murano, based off the 2013 Resonance concept vehicle, is an exceptionally lovely machine, all fluid, curved metal on the outside, and flowing, soft-touch materials on the inside. Certain kinds of comfort and charms that were unheard-of outside of premium vehicles five years ago have definitely trickled down, and reached a kind of design apotheosis with this car.

  • Volkswagen brings new (ish) Jetta to New York along with Golf Sportwagen 3 hours ago
    Volkswagen brings new (ish) Jetta to New York along with Golf Sportwagen

    With its new President and CEO of America, Michael Horn, on stage in New York after just 100 days on the job, Volkswagen debuted its 2015 Jetta. You'd be forgiven for noticing little differences compared to the outgoing model, and in the words of Horn himself, the changes are indeed subtle. The most notable of those subtleties is the all-new 2.0 liter turbo diesel motor, offering 45 mpg highway and a modest increase of 10 hp. For VW, diesel is where it's at.

  • With Vantage GT, Aston Martin races below $100,000 4 hours ago
    With Vantage GT, Aston Martin races below $100,000

    Aston Martin is going downmarket, sort of. The 2015 Vantage GT, a sport-styled variant of Aston’s legendary flagship car, draws style and performance tips from their GT4 race cars, which will be running in North America this year. It’s also priced at $99,900, which shows that the market for these kinds of consumer sports cars has boomed in recent years.