Wednesday May 29 2013

British film producer challenges his expulsion from Uganda


A British film producer, who last year secretly staged a play supporting gay rights in Uganda, has gone to court to challenge the decision by the Internal Affairs Minister to deport him to United Kingdom.

Mr David Cecil Edward Hugh, who is currently in UK, filed his suit through his Ugandan lawyer David Mpanga in the High Court, Kampala on Monday.

In the petition, Mr Cecil says the Internal Affairs minister did not give reasons why he branded him an ‘undesirable’ person before ordering his deportation back to his home country, UK, yet he is not a criminal.

s petition, Mr Cecil says the Internal Affairs minister did not give reasons why he branded him an ‘undesirable’ person before ordering his deportation back to his home country, UK, yet he was not a criminal.

The film producer is a father of two infants aged 3 and 2 years. The children are currently in Uganda.

He was deported to UK on February 11, 2013.

He further supports his petition on grounds that he has a Ugandan wife (Ms Florence Kebirungi) and two children that need his love and care.

“The process used by the Minister of Internal Affairs to declare the applicant (Mr Cecil) ‘undesirable’ person and his subsequent deportation was high handed and arbitrary as the applicant was never accorded any fair treatment before, during and after making the deportation order,” Mr Cecil’s petition reads in part.

 In his affidavit, Mr Cecil narrates the ordeal he went through before he was deported.

He says he had regularly visited his family in Uganda for the last six years.

He further says that all was well until February 6 this year when he was approached by five unknown people who found him at Bunga, Tilapia Cultural Centre, operated by his wife. Ms Kebirungi was maintaining the centre on behalf of Cavendish University.

Mr Cecil further states that the five men in plain clothes whom he did not identify, asked him to go with them to the Immigration Department on Jinja Road in Kampala.

At the offices, he was told by an officer only indentified as Benjamin that the minister had declared him an an ‘undesirable’ person and that he should be immediately be deported without any further explanation why he was being deported.

He also narrates how he was detained at Jinja Road Police Station where he stayed without food.

He says that after being detained for about five days without police allowing him to freely talk to his family members and lawyers; he was driven to Entebbe International Airport on February 11, at a break neck speed as if he had committed a heinous crime.

The film producer says that upon reaching Entebbe Airport, he was issued with a deportation document by an immigration officer, locked up in another small room for three hours without food and water before being led to a plane and flown to the UK.

Mr Cecil came to the glare of publicity late last year after he was dragged to Makindye Court for secretly staging a play supporting gay rights in a public domain despite a ban on the same by authorities.

The play was titled ‘The River and The Mountain’ examined the plight of a man who comes out as a homosexual but the Ugandan government persecutes him because of his sexual orientation.

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda and is punishable under Section 145 of the Penal Code Act. The act describes it as a crime against morality

Five months later, Makindye Court acquitted Mr Cecil after the state failed to produce witnesses to pin him.