British film producer released on bail

British National David Cecil appearing at the Makindye Magistrate Court on Monday September 17, 2012 for the bail application. PHOTO BY ISAAC KASAMANI

What you need to know:

This matter comes at a time when a private members bill tabled by Ndorwa West MP David Bahati also proposes punitive penalties including death to persons caught in practicing homosexuality. The bill is still before Parliament with some possible amendments here and there before it can be passed into law.

British film producer David Cecil Edward Hugh was Monday Morning released on cash bail of Shs500, 000 by Makindye Chief Magistrates Court in Kampala after spending the weekend in Luzira prison.

Mr Cecil was last week on Thursday remanded to Luzira prison for secretively staging a play supporting gay rights in public domain despite a ban by Media Council from doing as play script was still under review.

The play in question is entitled; ‘The River and The Mountain’. The play examines the plight of a man who comes out as a homosexual but the Ugandan government persecutes him for his sexual orientation.

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda and is punishable under section 145 of the Penal Code Act as a crime against morality. Chief Magistrate Ester Nambayo granted bail to Mr Cecil after he fulfilled all the requirements including producing his passport in court that was retained.

He also produced three substantial sureties who were each bonded at noncash of Shs1m. They included; Ms Florence Kebirungi, (his wife), Mr Godwin Buwa Mindrea and Mr Abdallah Wambere.

“The accused is granted bail upon depositing to court Shs500, 000, his sureties each Shs1m not cash, and the accused’s passport will remain in court,” ruled Magistrate Nambayo, adding, “the accused will return to court on October 18 for mention.”

Court records show that Mr Cecil’s woes with the Media Council begun on August 13 when he in pursuant to section 9 (1) (e) and 9 (2) of the Press and Journalist Act, forwarded a soft copy of the script to the Council for appraisal and review.

The controversial play was due to be staged at the National Theater in Kampala by a group calling itself ‘Tilapia Cultural Centre’. Mr Cecil was the main organizer of the screening.
In his e-mail to the Council, Mr Cecil is reported to have stated that the play was simply about power, politics, friendship, betrayal, religion, sexuality and the media and that the organisers believe that it would not anger the public.

Court records further show that three days later, the Council wrote back to the organisers informing them that it had received their script and that it was due to be considered.
However, the Council warned the organisers that in the meantime, they should not show the play in public.
The Council states that it was shocked to learn that the organisers had secretly staged the play in various public places.

After Media Council sampled some of the excerpts of the script, it found that the play is obnoxious.
According to the Council after sampling some of the excerpts of the play, it branded it ‘obnoxious’, the play has dangerous excerpts as has violence towards persons of homosexual behavior and indeed implicitly promotes a deification of such persons.

The Council further states that the play depicts Uganda as a country full of intolerant and violent people who take the law into their own hands as and when it suits their selfish purposes especially in regard to people with homosexual tendencies.