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Ugandan LGBT Advocate Murdered; Had Been Named By “Hang Them” Tabloid

Jim Burroway

January 26th, 2011

David Kato (via Facebook)

We have learned that Ugandan LGBT advocate David Kato Kisulle was murdered today at his home in Kampala. Frank Mugisha of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) has confirmed that the David’s body was identified at a hospital.

Update: I have also confirmed this with SMUG’s Pepe Julian Onziema, who identified David’s body in the hospital morgue. Police are investigating.

The details surrounding his murder are unknown at this time. He was reportedly beaten in the skull with a hammer at his home. We do not yet know whether it was a single assailant or a group of people, nor do we know any other circumstances surrounding his death.

Update: More details from Human Rights Watch:

Witnesses told police that a man entered Kato’s home in Mukono at around 1 p.m. on January 26, 2011, hit him twice in the head and departed in a vehicle. Kato died on his way to Kawolo hospital. Police told Kato’s lawyer that they had the registration number of the vehicle and were looking for it.

Front cover of the Oct 2, 2010 edition of Rolling Stone, featuring a photo of David Kato (left) and Bishop Christopher Senyonjo (right). (Click to enalrge)

David Kato was a spokesperson for Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and one of the plaintiffs (or applicants) in the successful lawsuit seeking a permanent injunction against the Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone (no relation to the U.S. publication of the same name). Kato was one of three applicants who had been named by the tabloid under a headline tagged “Hang Them!” His photo appeared on the tabloid’s front cover.

LGBT Ugandans have lived under a menacing atmosphere for more than a decade. The anti-gay hysteria has increased significantly since the introduction of the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill into parliament in 2009. That bill, which remains under review Parliamentary committee, would impose the death penalty on LGBT Ugandans under certain circumstances and criminalize all advocacy by or on behalf of LGBT people. It would also criminalize even knowing someone who is gay if that person fails to report their LGBT loved one to police within 24 hours. Parliamentary elections are scheduled for February 18, and the bill is expected to be considered after Parliament returns for a lame-duck session before the new Parliament begins in May.

This horrendous murder adds to the fears that LGBT Ugandans regularly face over their safety. Brenda Namigadde, a lesbian asylum seeker in the U.K. has been threatened with deportation back to Uganda. Just yesterday, she received an ominous message from M.P. David Bahati, the author of the infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill, in which he said that Brenda must “repent or reform” when she returns home:

Brenda is welcome in Uganda if she will abandon or repent her behaviour. Here in Uganda, homosexuality is not a human right. It is behaviour that is learned and it can be unlearned. We wouldn’t want Brenda to be painting a wrong picture of Uganda, that we are harassing homosexuals.

M.P. Bahati may be technically correct. They are simply killing homosexuals, not harassing them.

David has served as the Advocacy and Litigation Officer for SMUG since 2004, according to his facebook profile. He also attended the University of York where he studied Human Rights.

Update: Mourners are posting messages on David’s facebook wall.



paul canning
January 26th, 2011 | LINK

Here is the petition for Brenda

Here is my background and updates on her case

January 26th, 2011 | LINK

I call for charges or Conspiracy to commit Murder of Lively, Schmierer, Cohen and Brundlidge and for the US Government to issue an order for an immediate cease and desist of all American-allied anti-gay activities abroad, including but not limited to seizing their assets.

January 26th, 2011 | LINK

@Wendy — and a lawsuit against that… tabloid.

January 26th, 2011 | LINK

That poor brave man. His poor loved ones. We need to remember him when we fight for our rights. We need to remember the struggles of LGBT people all over the world.

Wendy, I third that idea. To hell with the lot of them. They were begging for this.

January 27th, 2011 | LINK

This is a direct result of the initiatives if Rick Warren, and of the group known as The Family composed of many U.S. Congressmen.

Email The Whitehouse

Email Senate:

Email Congress:

Call the Senate and Congress: (202)224-3121
*The Operator will direct you if you do not know your representative

*IMPORTANT* Be polite and to the point.

Nancy Goldstein
January 27th, 2011 | LINK

Thank you for breaking this story first.

Jim Burroway
January 27th, 2011 | LINK

Actually, I’m not sure if technically I was the first to post it. I had first learned about it about five hours before I posted it, but was waiting for confirmation of key information. In the beginning, there were a lot of rumors and unconfirmed reports swirling around. Some of them turned out to be false. but most of it tragically true. But it was important to wait for clarity because if I had gone with what I had heard earlier, the story would have had a very different arc and may have contained some false and inflamatory “facts.”

So waiting is always prudent if you’re not sure. I was mindful of the beheading hoax, as well as the false reports in the early going of the Tucson shooting that Rep. Giffords had died.

So I think Warren Throckmorton and Human Rights Watch technically broke this ahead of me, but not by very much. Just a few minutes. I think we were all prudent to post only when we each felt confident that we had confirmed facts to report.

January 28th, 2011 | LINK

This is hard to believe that humans can act with such brutality. The Churches that promote this sort of anti-gay mentality have the blood of this brave man on their hands. This is the end result taken to the extreme of their insane hateful teachings. It is anything but Christian. I hope David can finaly rest in peace. I say no more U.S. foreign aid to Uganda until they comply with basic human rights for all people. Maybe they will understand that there are consequences to acting in violation of basic human rights.

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