Ugandan gay rights activist murdered
A Ugandan gay rights activist who late last year was pictured and named in a homophobic tabloid was murdered at his home outside Kampala, his lawyer said on Thursday. Uganda's police chief said David Kato's death had nothing to do with his campaign against the country's anti-homosexuality bill.
David Kato, an activist with Sexual Minorities Uganda, was pictured and named by the anti-gay tabloid Rolling Stone in a story that called on readers to "hang" gay rights advocates.
Gerald Sentongo, an administrator at Sexual Minorities Uganda, told RFI that Kato knew his life was in danger.
Kato and two others sued Rolling Stone for damages, and secured a high court injuction secured a high court injuction blocking all media from outing gays.
"He decided to go to court because he said he felt he didn’t want anyone else to feel," said Sentongo. "He was such a withdrawn person after the publication in Rolling Stone, and every time he left court, he would go straight home."
"Everybody is so shocked," he said about Kato's murder. "Now everyone is stunned. We want to cry out."
Kato's lawyer, John Francis Onyango, said Kato was killed Wednesday by a man who entered his home and struck him in the head.
He said police were focusing on two potential suspects.
Police chief Kale Kayihura said Kato's death had nothing to do his gay rights activism.
"It is therefore not true that his death is connected to his role as an activist in the Sexual Minorities Uganda," he told reporters in Kampala.
Human Rights Watch called on Uganda's police to "urgently and impartially investigate the killing".
"The government should ensure that members of Uganda's Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender community have adequate protection from violence and take prompt action against all threats or hate speech likely to incite violence," said Human Rights Watch.
Homosexuality is banned in Uganda, which is considering a harsh new anti-gay bill that would impose the death sentence for acts of "aggravated homosexuality".