Murdered Gay Activist’s Funeral Turns into Gay-Bashing Service

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26 Ene to 10 Nov

On 26 January 2011 renowned gay-rights activist David Kato (46) was beaten with a hammer twice on the head, at his home in Mukono Town (Uganda). Kato later died on the way to hospital.

Kato's colleagues noted that he had spoken of increased threats and harassment following the court victory, and they believe that his sexual orientation and his activism were the motive for the murder. Kato’s killing came just three weeks after winning a lawsuit against the Ugandan tabloid newspaper Rolling Stone, which had published names, photographs and addresses of 100 people alleged to be homosexuals, under the headline ‘Hang them’. Kato was on the list.

Kato’s funeral was marred when the presiding Anglican pastor Thomas Musoke called on homosexuals to repent or "be punished by God". The homophobic tirade was interrupted when Kato’s angered fellow rights activists and Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) colleagues stormed the pulpit and grabbed the microphone from Musoke. However, this did not deter the pastor, as he continued to shout over the commotion that homosexuals "would go to hell" [video]. A scuffle ensued and police had to escort Musoke into Kato’s family home for protection as the mourners threatened to attack him. 

Kato’s friends, colleagues and fellow activists grabbed his coffin – opting to bury him themselves. Fortunately, gay-rights sympathizer and excommunicated Anglican Church of Uganda bishop Christopher Senyonjo was present to step-in and continue with the burial ceremony.

On 2 February 2011, police announced the arrest of Sidney Nsubuga Enoch, saying that he had confessed to Kato’s murder. A police source, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Uganda Monitor that Enoch had murdered Kato because Kato would not pay him for sexual favours. Enoch is alleged to have been a sex worker.

US activist Melanie Nathan, writing for the San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, called the prosecution's rendering of events leading to the murder as "a cover-up of the actual facts and events leading up to Kato's brutal murder". Enoch was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years on 10 November 2011.

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