Ugandan Gay Rights Activist Bludgeoned To Death

A Ugandan gay rights activist whose name was published on a list of the nation's "top homosexuals" was bludgeoned to death in his home near the capital, his lawyer said Thursday. A neighbor found David Kato dead and notified authorities, according to his lawyer. Kato's money and some clothes were missing after the attack, said John Onyango, his attorney. It was unclear whether his killing was linked to a front-page story in a Ugandan tabloid that reignited anti-gay sentiments late last year.

In December 2009, activists protest outside Uganda House in central London against a proposed ban on gay relationships.

A Ugandan gay rights activist whose name was published on a list of the nation's "top homosexuals" was bludgeoned to death in his home near the capital, his lawyer said Thursday.

A neighbor found David Kato dead and notified authorities, according to his lawyer.

Kato's money and some clothes were missing after the attack, said John Onyango, his attorney.

It was unclear whether his killing was linked to a front-page story in a Ugandan tabloid that reignited anti-gay sentiments late last year.

The story included a list of "top 100 homosexuals" with their photos, addresses and a banner with the words "Hang Them." Kato's name and picture were on the list.

Arrest warrants have been issued for two suspects: A taxi driver found near the victim's house and an ex-convict who was staying with the victim prior to the killing, Onyango said.

Kato told CNN last year that that he feared for his life after the list was released. His lawyer said he had informed authorities in Mukono town, where he lived, of his fears.

"The villagers want to set my house ablaze," he told CNN at the time. "They want to burn my house ... (they say) can you go away before my house is burned."

Authorities in the Mukono criminal investigations department declined to comment pending further investigations.

Rights activists decried the attack, and urged authorities in the east African nation to investigate the killing. They called on the government to protect them from violence, and act on threats and hostility toward them.

"David Kato's death is a tragic loss to the human rights community. David had faced the increased threats to Ugandan LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender) people bravely and will be sorely missed," said Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.

Earlier this year, Kato and two activists won a case against the magazine that published the list. The court ruled that media in Uganda are barred from releasing details of known or potential homosexuals in the country.