Ugandan gay activist beaten to death after threats

KAMPALA Thu Jan 27, 2011 3:06pm IST

Related Topics

Rajalakshmi (C), 28, smiles after winning the Miss Wheelchair India beauty pageant in Mumbai November 26, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Miss Wheelchair India

Seven women from across India participated in the country's second wheelchair beauty pageant, which aims to open doors for the wheelchair-bound in modelling, film and television, according to organisers  Slideshow 

KAMPALA (Reuters) - A Ugandan gay rights activist who was late last year featured with other gays in a newspaper article headlined "Hang Them" has been beaten to death in his Kampala home, rights groups said on Thursday.

David Kato was one of three people featured in Uganda's Rolling Stone newspaper who this month won an injunction barring it from continuing its anti-gay campaign.

"Witnesses told police that a man entered Kato's home in Mukono at around 1 p.m. on January 26, 2011, hit him twice in the head and departed in a vehicle," New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

"Kato died on his way to Kawolo hospital. Police told Kato's lawyer that they had the registration number of the vehicle and were looking for it."

Police were unavailable for comment. It is not clear whether the murder is linked to Kato's activism or to his outing in the newspaper. Kato claimed to have received death threats since its publication.

Friends of Kato, who did not want to be named, told Reuters he was attacked with a hammer and they suspected his sexuality could be the motive.

Human Rights Watch called for an investigation and for the government to protect gays from violence and from "hate speech" that could incite it.

"HANG THEM"

Homosexuality is deeply unpopular in many African nations, where some see it as a Western import. It is illegal in 37 countries on the continent and activists say few Africans are openly gay, fearing imprisonment, violence and loss of jobs.

Uganda's anti-gay movement first made international headlines in October 2009 when a bill was tabled in the country's parliament proposing the death penalty for homosexuals who are "repeat offenders".

U.S. President Barack Obama denounced it as "odious" and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to express concern.

It was quietly shelved under the pressure, but rights groups fear it may be passed after a February presidential election that Museveni is expected to win.

Rolling Stone published 29 photographs with names and, in some cases, addresses before the High Court ordered it to stop on grounds of privacy.

The first article -- which featured Kato -- ran under the headlines, "100 pictures of Uganda's top homos leak" and "Hang them".

Giles Muhame, the 22-year-old editor of the newspaper, told Reuters he condemned the murder and that the paper had not wanted gays to be attacked.

"If he has been murdered, that's bad and we pray for his soul," Muhame said.

"There has been a lot of crime, it may not be because he is gay. We want the government to hang people who promote homosexuality, not for the public to attack them. We said they should be hanged, not stoned or attacked."

(Editing by Giles Elgood)

FILED UNDER:

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Racial Unrest

Racial Unrest

Protests in Ferguson dwindle, mass arrests at California rallies.  Full Article 

Protest Leaders Banned

Protest Leaders Banned

Hong Kong student leaders banned from Mong Kok protest site.  Full Article 

Suicide Attack

Suicide Attack

Suicide bomber kills five in attack on British embassy car in Kabul - officials.  Full Article 

Nuclear Deal

Nuclear Deal

Iran Supreme Leader says not opposed to extension of nuclear talks.  Full Article 

Myanmar Reforms

Myanmar Reforms

Dinner with Suu Kyi? - No thanks, say Myanmar military.  Full Article 

Opinion Poll

Opinion Poll

Majority of Russians believe their troops are not fighting in Ukraine - poll.  Full Article 

Political Deal

Political Deal

UK edges towards federalism with Scotland powers deal.  Full Article 

Ebola Epideimic

Ebola Epideimic

Number of Ebola cases nears 16,000 as Sierra Leone loses ground - WHO.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage