Ugandan Gay-Rights Activist Kato Beaten to Death by Unknown Attackers

A Ugandan gay-rights activist was beaten to death yesterday, three weeks after he won a court case against a local newspaper that published the names and addresses of campaigners in the East African nation.

David Kato, 46, was attacked at his home “by unknown people and beaten, leading to his death,” Denis Wamala, a gay-rights activist, said in a phone interview today from Kampala, the capital. “He has been receiving death threats for his gay stand.”

Amnesty International, the London-based advocacy group, called the murder “shocking” and urged the Ugandan government to ensure an impartial investigation into the killing. Ugandan police will address a media briefing on Kato’s death later, Vincent Ssekatte, the deputy police spokesman, said by phone.

On Jan. 3, Kato won a court case against the Kampala-based Rolling Stone newspaper preventing the further publication of names and addresses of gay activists in the country, reported. An earlier story published in October had called for gays in the country to be hanged. The newspaper isn’t linked to the New York-based magazine of the same name.

Ugandan lawmaker David Bahati presented a private member’s bill in October 2009 that sought the death penalty and life imprisonment for gay people in Uganda. The proposed law has yet to be debated in parliament. Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo said in December 2009 that homosexuality is considered “repugnant to the Ugandan culture.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Fred Ojambo in Kampala via Johannesburg at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at

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