Thursday, January 27, 2011

Rights Activist Murdered

A gay rights activist has been murdered in Uganda. He had been targeted by a newspaper; something I wrote about months ago.

David Kato, 43, was an activist with Sexual Minorities Uganda who was pictured and named by the anti-gay tabloid Rolling Stone -- no relation to the US magazine of the same name -- 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 statement that Kato died on his way to a local hospital.

As we struggle to get the freedom to same-sex marriage in more places, we’re still dealing with this sort of thing. How sad.

After being identified in the October 2010 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 injunction blocking all media from outing gays.

Kato was also a vocal critic of Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which, if enacted, would massively expand the list of prosecutable offences related to being gay and usher in the death sentence for acts of "aggravated homosexuality."

Currently, the country's penal code, like that of many African countries bans "carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature." An attempt to commit a homosexual act can be punishable by seven years in jail. A conviction for actually committing such an act can bring a life sentence.

Uganda needs serious reform.
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