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We call on the government of Uganda to stop the prosecution of David Cecil and to uphold the fundamental right to freedom of expression.

Your Excellency,

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.


David Lan, Artistic Director, Young Vic 

Mike Harris, Head of Advocacy, Index on Censorship

Mary Ann DeVlieg, Secretary General, IETM

Baroness  Helena Kennedy QC, former Chair of the British Council, Member of the House of Lords UK and leading Human Rights lawyer

Rachel  Tackley, Director of English Touring Theatre and President of the Theatrical Management Association

Sir Richard Eyre

Stephen Fry      

Vanessa Redgrave

Mark Rubinstein, Theatre Producer and President of the Society of London Theatre

Rt Hon James Purnell, former Secretary of State for Culture

Peter Brook       

Hanif Kureishi   

Michael Sheen OBE        

Sandi Toksvig    

Jane Horrocks   

Tom Stoppard  

Patrick  Marber

Nick Starr, National Theatre

Nicholas Allot, Cameron Mackintosh Ltd

Simon Callow

Bill Paterson      

David Edgar, President of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain

Rt Hon Simon Hughes MP, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Commons

Dame Harriet Walter     

Chris Dercon, Director of Tate Modern

Malcolm Sinclair, President, Equity

Dominic Cooke, Artistic Director, Royal Court Theatre

Janet Suzman DBE          

Jan Goossens, Artistic Director, KVS - Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg, Brussels

Mike Leigh, Dramatist & Film Director

Michael Boyd, former Artistic Director RSC

Juliet Stevenson              

And many, many others


This petition was delivered to:
  • H.E. Amb. Joan Rwabyomere, Ugandan High Commissioner in the UK

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