A court in Kampala dismisses the case against British theatre producer David Cecil, who faced two years in a Uganda jail for putting on a play about homosexuality.
David Cecil told Channel 4 News he was “very relieved and happy” about the decision.
He was arrested in September after his play, The River and the Mountain, was performed in private theatres in Kampala without authorisation from the authorities.
It tells the story of a gay businessman who is eventually killed by colleagues after revealing his sexuality.
Mr Cecil was subsequently questioned and spent four nights in Luzira remand centre before being granted bail.
At a court appearance in Kamapala on 2 January the magistrate dismissed the case against him.
I’m really happy the decision seems to have been down to the smooth running of the Ugandan justice system rather than a political decision. David Cecil
Mr Cecil said it was an “unexpected” decision: “We weren’t pushing for the case to be dismissed. I’m obviously very relieved and happy.
“Most of all I’m really happy the decision seems to have been down to the smooth running of the Ugandan justice system rather than a political decision.”
There is still a chance the Ugandan state could reopen the case because the charges were not dropped, but the theatre producer is hopeful that will not happen: “It seems the decision indicates that there isn’t major interest in the case – maybe the intention was to send a signal to activists.”
Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, and the country’s parliament is considering introducing harsher penalties for homosexual acts.