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Gay-rights activist killed in Uganda after article

Headline called for hangings

Associated Press / January 28, 2011

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KAMPALA, Uganda — A prominent Ugandan gay-rights activist whose picture was published by an antigay newspaper next to the words “Hang Them’’ was found bludgeoned to death Wednesday. Police said yesterday that his sexual orientation had nothing to do with the killing and that one “robber’’ had been arrested.

Activists were outraged over the death of David Kato, an advocacy officer for the gay-rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda. His slaying comes after a year of stepped-up threats against gays in Uganda, where a controversial bill has proposed the death penalty for some homosexual acts.

Kato, who had received multiple threats, was found at his home in the capital, Kampala, with serious wounds to his head from a hammer. He died on the way to the hospital.

Human Rights Watch called for an urgent investigation, saying that Kato’s work as a prominent gay-rights campaigner had previously seen him face threats to his personal safety.

A Ugandan tabloid newspaper called Rolling Stone listed a number of men they said were homosexuals last year, including Kato. Kato’s picture was published on the front page, along with his name and a headline that said “Hang Them.’’

Kato and two other gay activists sued Rolling Stone, alleging that it had violated their constitutional rights to privacy and won the case this month. A judge issued an injunction banning the publication of the identities and personal details of homosexuals.

A police spokesman, Vincent Sekatte, said Kato was killed by robbers who have killed more than 10 people in the area recently. He said there was no indication the death was connected to any antigay sentiment.

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, and gay men and women face regular harassment.

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