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Ugandan gay rights activist killed after name published in tabloid hitlist

David Kato had successfully sued the local newspaper which published his name, address and photograph beside a headline which read: ‘Hang Them’.

A UGANDAN GAY rights activist, whose name appeared on a tabloid hitlist, has been beaten to death in his home.

Rolling Stone newspaper – which has no connection to the US magazine – published David Kato’s photograph, and the names, photos, addresses of many members of the LGBT community, next to a headline reading “Hang Them” in late 2010.

Human Rights Watch says Kato was beaten by two men who broke into his home last night. He died on the way to hospital.

Maria Burnett, senior African researcher, said:

David Kato’s death is a tragic loss to the human rights community. David had faced the increased threats to Ugandan LGBT people bravely and will be sorely missed.

Earlier this month, Kato had successfully sued Rolling Stone, when a judge ruled that the publication violated the constitutional rights to privacy of those featured.

He had been a leading voice in the fight against the anti-homosexuality bill, while has been before the Ugandan parliament since October 2009.

Sex between two people of the same gender is already illegal in Uganda, but the proposed law would make it punishable by imprisonment and life imprisonment. Repeat offenders – and those who are HIV positive – would be subject to the death penalty.

The bill has been widely condemned internationally, including by US President Barack Obama.

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Jennifer O'Connell

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