Uganda gay rights activist murdered

A Ugandan gay rights campaigner who last year sued a local newspaper which outed him as homosexual is beaten to death, activists say.

Updated: Jan 27, 2011, 18:03 PM IST

Kampala: A Ugandan gay rights activist who late last year was pictured and named in a homophobic tabloid has been murdered at his home outside Kampala, his lawyer told a news agency on Thursday.

David Kato was an activist with Sexual Minorities Uganda, who was pictured and named by the anti-gay tabloid Rolling Stone in a story that called on readers to "hang" gay rights advocates.

"This happened yesterday (Wednesday) at about 13:00," said lawyer John Francis Onyango, referring to Kato`s killing.

Onyango said initial reports indicate a man entered Kato`s home and struck him on the head before fleeing and that police were focusing on two potential suspects.

Human Rights Watch said in a statment that Kato died on his way to a local hospital.

The New York-based rights group 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," HRW further said.

After being identified in the tabloid article, which accused gay rights leaders of "recruiting" Uganda`s youth into homosexuality, Kato and two others successfully sued the paper for damages and secured a high court injuction blocking all media from outing gays.

Bureau Report