David Kato, one of the Ugandan gay rights activist who was outed as a homosexual when a local newspaper published the photographs of several people it said were gay next to a headline reading “Hang them”, has been murdered. Kato had been receiving death threats since his name, photograph and address were published by Rolling Stone paper last year.
Police have confirmed the murder and say they have arrested one suspect. Witnesses have told the BBC that a man entered Mr Kato’s home near Kampala, and beat him to death with a hammer before leaving.
Human Rights Watch has called for an immediate investigation into his death. “David Kato’s death is a tragic loss to the human rights community,” said HRW’s Maria Burnett.
David Kato had bravely campaigned against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Current Ugandan laws prohibit homosexuality for both men and women. An attempt to commit a homosexual act can be punishable by seven years in jail in Uganda. A conviction for actually committing such an act carries a life sentence. The introduction of the bill in 2009 followed a conference in Kampala that was attended by American Christian evangelicals who think same-sex relationships are a sin. These American evangelicals believe gays and lesbians can become straight through prayer and counseling. Here is a link to a New York Times article that details American Evangelical’s role in Ugandan anti-gay hatred.
“David’s death is a result of the hatred planted in Uganda by U.S evangelicals in 2009,” said Val Kalende, a Ugandan gay rights activist. “The Ugandan government and the so-called U.S evangelicals must take responsibility for David’s blood.”