Ugandan Gay Advocate’s Alleged Murderer Sentenced To 30 Years
November 10th, 2011
Daily Monitor, Uganda’s largest independent newspaper, reports that Sydney Nsubuga Enoch, who had plead guilty to murdering LGBT advocate David Kato, was sentenced to thirty years in prison. The African blog Behind the Mask also reports.
Justice Joseph Mulangira sentenced Nsubuga, on his own plea of guilty, for the murder of the gay rights activist on January 26, 2011 at his home in Mukono district.
Nsubuga pleaded guilty to both the police and before a magistrate, before he was committed to the High Court to stand trial.
Under Uganda’s judicial systems capital offences such as murder, rape and defilement are only heard by the high court, although suspects are brought before magistrates and charges are read to them as investigations go on.
Nsubuga had been arrested in February, just a week after Kato’s death. At the time, many LGBT activists in Uganda expressed doubts about the police investigation leading to the arrest. But in this article at Behind the Mask, Kato’s layer, Francis Onyango, expressed satisfaction with the unusually speedy trial and conviction of Nsubuga, which seems to have caught everyone off guard. “Even the witnesses, lawyers and families of the man never knew he was convicted and sentenced. But this is normal in a criminal trial,” he said.
Meanwhile, the account in Daily Monitor mirrors the story which had been spread by editors of the notorious Rolling Stone tabloid (no relation to the U.S. publication by the same name), which sought to place the blame on the murder of Kato himself. In this latest account from Daily Monitor, “The police issued a statement to the effect that Kato’s killing was no way related to his campaign for gay rights.” LGBT activists in Uganda disputed that assertion.
The suddenness of today’s proceedings before anyone was even notified of the trial and sentencing only added to those doubts. Frank Mugisha, who is in Washington, D.C. to receive the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award today, posted on his Facebook page, “It is disheartening that this trial happened secretly and hurriedly with out any one knowing about it and leaves many questions unanswered.”
Davik Kato Kisule, the Advocacy and Litigation Officer for Sexual Minorities Uganda, was found in his home on January 26, 2011, after having been beaten in the head with a hammer or blunt object. Residents told police that they saw a man entering David’s house, and then they saw him leaving dressed in the David’s shoes and a jacket that covered part of his face. Later, they became suspicious and went to check on David but found the door locked. After they forced their way in, they found him and rushed him to Mulago Hospital, but he died on the way.
The attack occurred a few months after David’s face appeared on the front page of the Ugandan tabloid Rolling Stone (no relation to the U.S. publication by the same name) under a headline that demanded “Hang Them!” Kato and others sued the paper, seeking damages and a permanent injunction against the paper’s “outing” campaign. Kato and the other plaintiffs prevailed, and Rolling Stone ceased publication shortly after.