As you may have read in the papers, the UK theater producer David Cecil was imprisoned in Uganda for his part in producing the play The River and the Mountain by Beau Hopkins. Information about the play is contained in the letter below. He has now been released on bail but will face trial shortly with the possibility of a two year sentence.
Index on Censorship, one of Europe's major free speech organizations, and UK theater people intend to send the letter to Joan Rwabyomere, Uganda’s High Commissioner in the UK . We also intend to place it in one of the major UK daily newspapers as well as on-line.
We would be very pleased if you would kindly—and urgently—add your name.
If you are willing to do this, please email email@example.com stating your name and organization if you are associated with one by 12pm EDT / 5pm BST on Thursday, September 20th. And please forward this as widely as you can.
Find the letter below:
We write to express our concern over the prosecution of British theatre producer David Cecil by the Ugandan Media Council for producing the play "The River and the Mountain." The play, which was staged in the Ugandan capital Kampala, chronicles the killing of a gay businessman by his staff. It has been highly praised for the tragicomic way it attempts to tackle widespread homophobia in Uganda where leading politicians wish to introduce the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality" and gay rights activists such as David Kato have been murdered or beaten with impunity. In this climate, free speech is severely restricted. Uganda's National Theatre rejected the play and the Media Council instructed Cecil not to stage it until state censors had gone through it. Bravely, he went ahead. He now faces 2 years if convicted for ignoring their orders. We call on the government of Uganda to stop the prosecution of David Cecil and to uphold the fundamental right to freedom of expression.
Yours, David Lan, Artistic Director, Young Vic Mike Harris, Head of Advocacy, Index on Censorship Mary Ann DeVlieg, Secretary General, IETM