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Sidney Nsubuga ENOCH





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery - Male prostitute
Number of victims: 1
Date of murders: January 26, 2011
Date of arrest: February 2, 2011
Date of birth: 1989
Victims profile: David Kato Kisule, 46
Method of murder: Hitting with a hammer
Location: Mukono Town, Uganda
Status: Sentenced to 30 years in prison on November 10, 2011

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David Kato Kisule (c. 1964 – January 26, 2011) was a Ugandan teacher and LGBT rights activist, considered a father of Uganda's gay rights movement and described as "Uganda’s first openly gay man".

He served as advocacy officer for Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). Kato was murdered in 2011, shortly after winning a lawsuit against a magazine which had published his name and photograph identifying him as gay and calling for him to be executed.

Earlier life

Born to the Kisule clan in its ancestral village of Nakawala, Namataba Town Council, Mukono District, he received the name "Kato" because he was the younger of twins.

He was educated at King's College Budo and Kyambogo University and taught at various schools including the Nile Vocational Institute in Njeru near Jinja, it was here that he became aware of his sexual orientation and was subsequently dismissed without any benefits in 1991.

Later, he came out to his twin brother John Malumba Wasswa, before he left to teach for a few years in Johannesburg, South Africa during its transition from apartheid to multiracial democracy, becoming influenced by the end of the apartheid-era ban on sodomy and the growth of LGBT rights in the country.

Coming back to Uganda in 1998, he decided to come out in public through a press conference; he was arrested and held in police custody for a week due to this action. He continued to maintain contact with pro-LGBT activists outside the country, with LGEP executive director Phumzile S. Mtetwa later citing an encounter with Kato at the 1999 ILGA World Conference.

When St Herman Nkoni Boys Primary School was founded in 2002 in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Masaka (Masaka District), Kato joined the faculty.

Involvement with SMUG

He became highly involved with the underground LGBT rights movement in Uganda, eventually becoming one of the founding members of SMUG on March 3, 2004.

According to a series of confidential cables written by a Kampala-based United States diplomat and later released by WikiLeaks, Kato spoke during a November 2009 United Nations-funded consultative conference on human rights.

During the conference, Kato spoke on the issue of LGBT rights and the anti-LGBT atmosphere in the country, but members of the Uganda Human Rights Commission "openly joked and snickered" during the speech, and a rumor circulated that David Bahati MP, the leading proponent of the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill, had ordered the Inspector General of Police to arrest Kato, causing Kato and other attending members of SMUG to leave the conference immediately after he finished the speech.

Bahati then made a "tirade against homosexuality" to the conference, resulting in massive applause and Martin Ssempa, an Evangelical Christian cleric, pounding his fist on the table in agreement.

By 2010, he had quit his job as a school teacher in order to focus on his work with SMUG in light of the events surrounding the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Kato was subsequently given a one year fellowship at the Centre for Applied Human Rights based at the University of York in the United Kingdom, a centre which provides fellowships to vulnerable and threatened Human Rights activists as a reprieve from the dangers they face in their own Countries.

Rolling Stone case

Kato was among the 100 people whose names and photographs were published in October 2010 by the Ugandan tabloid newspaper Rolling Stone in an article which called for their execution as homosexuals. Kato and two other SMUG members who were also listed in the article — Kasha Nabagesera and Julian Patience "Pepe" Onziema — sued the newspaper to force it to stop publishing the names and pictures of people it believed to be gay or lesbian. The photos were published under a headline of "Hang them" and were accompanied by the individuals' addresses.

The petition was granted on November 2, 2010, effectively ruling for the end of Rolling Stone. Giles Muhame, the paper's managing editor, commented: "I haven't seen the court injunction but the war against gays will and must continue. We have to protect our children from this dirty homosexual affront."

On January 3, 2011, High Court Justice V. F. Kibuuka Musoke ruled that Rolling Stone's publication of the lists, and the accompanying incitation to violence, threatened Kato's and the others' "fundamental rights and freedoms;" attacked their right to human dignity; and violated their constitutional right to privacy. The court ordered the newspaper to pay Kato and the other two plaintiffs 1.5 million Ugandan shillings each (approx. US$600 as of May 2012).


On January 26, 2011, at around 2 p.m. EAT (11:00 UTC), after talking on the phone with SMUG member Julian Pepe Onziema a few hours before, Kato was assaulted in his home in Bukusa, Mukono Town, by a man who hit him twice in the head with a hammer. The man then fled on foot. Kato later died en route to the Kawolo Hospital.

Kato's colleagues note that Kato had spoken of an increase in threats and harassment since the court victory, and they believe that his sexual orientation and his activism were the motive for the murder. Joe Oloka-Onyango, who worked with Kato on the court case, said, "This is a very strange thing to happen in the middle of the day, and suggests pre-meditation."

According to reports in the New York Times and the Sydney Morning Herald, questions are being raised about the murder's being linked to Kato's sexuality. Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have both called for an in-depth and impartial investigation into the case, and for protection for gay activists. James Nsaba Buturo, the Ugandan Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity, is on record as having declared that "Homosexuals can forget about human rights".


A police spokesperson initially blamed the murder on robbers who have allegedly killed at least 10 people in the area over the last two months. Police arrested one suspect, Kato's driver, and were seeking a second.

On February 2, 2011, police announced the arrest of Nsubuga Enock, saying that he had confessed to the murder. A police spokesperson described Enock as a "well-known thief" and local gardener, but stated as to Enock's alleged motive, "It wasn't a robbery and it wasn't because Kato was an activist. It was a personal disagreement but I can't say more than that."

A police source alleged to the Uganda Monitor that Enock had murdered Kato because Kato would not pay him for sexual favors, an allegation that was repeated by the Ugandan ambassador to Belgium in a letter to European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek. The Ugandan Ambassador later reiterated this version of events in a letter to the European Parliament, stating that Kato had earlier paid for "his prostitute" to be released from prison, but had then been attacked by him for refusing to pay for sex.


After being spotted by Nakabago residents in Mukono district, Sidney Nsubuga Enoch was arrested, and prosecuted at Mukono High Court by the lead State Prosecutor, Ms. Loe Karungi. He was sentenced to 30 years with hard labour, by Justice Joseph Mulangira, on Thursday 10 November 2011. The apparent motive was robbery.


Kato's funeral was held on January 28, 2011, in Nakawala. Present at the funeral were family, friends and co-activists, many of whom wore t-shirts bearing his photo in front, the Portuguese "la [sic] luta continua" in the back and having rainbow flag colors inscribed onto the sleeves.

However, the Christian preacher at the funeral preached against the gays and lesbians present, making comparisons to Sodom and Gomorrah, before the activists ran to the pulpit and grabbed the microphone from him, forcing him to retreat from the pulpit to Kato's father's house. An unidentified female activist angrily exclaimed "Who are you to judge others?" and villagers sided with the preacher as scuffles broke out during the proceedings.

Villagers refused to bury Kato at his burial place; the task was then undertaken by his friends and co-workers, most of whom were gay. In place of the preacher who left the scene after the fighting, excommunicated Anglican Church of Uganda bishop Christopher Senyonjo officiated at Kato's burial in the presence of friends and cameras.


The murder was decried by Human Rights Watch, with senior Africa researcher Maria Burnett adding that "David Kato's death is a tragic loss to the human rights community." Amnesty International stated that it was "appalled by the shocking murder of David Kato," and called for a "credible and impartial investigation into his murder." Both also asked the Ugandan government to protect other gay rights activists.

U.S. President Barack Obama, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the State Department, and the European Union also condemned the murder and urged Uganda authorities to investigate the crime and to speak out against homophobia and transphobia. "I am deeply saddened to learn of the murder," Obama said. "David showed tremendous courage in speaking out against hate. He was a powerful advocate for fairness and freedom."

Rowan Williams, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, spoke on behalf of the Anglican Communion, "Such violence [as the death of David Kato] has been consistently condemned by the Anglican Communion worldwide. This event also makes it all the more urgent for the British Government to secure the safety of LGBT asylum seekers in the UK. This is a moment to take very serious stock and to address those attitudes of mind which endanger the lives of men and women belonging to sexual minorities."

For his newspaper's alleged role in the murder, Rolling Stone editor Giles Muhame stated "When we called for hanging of gay people, we meant ... after they have gone through the legal process ... I did not call for them to be killed in cold blood like he was." However, he stated, "I have no regrets about the story. We were just exposing people who were doing wrong."

In Spring 2011, Boston's American Repertory Theater and System of a Down's Serj Tankian dedicated their production of Prometheus Bound to Kato and seven other activists, stating in program notes that "by singing the story of Prometheus, the God who defied the tyrant Zeus by giving the human race both fire and art, this production hopes to give a voice to those currently being silenced or endangered by modern-day oppressors".

The Gay Pride event in York, United Kingdom, held on 30 July 2011 commemorated Kato. A minute of silence was observed and hundreds of rainbow coloured balloons were released in his memory by Member of Parliament for York Central Hugh Bayley and the Lord Mayor of York.

The David Kato Vision & Voice Award was established in his memory. The 2012 recipient, Jamaican LGBT rights activist Maurice Tomlinson, was announced on 14 December 2011 and was awarded on 29 January 2012 in London. Participant organizations include Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF), Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), GIZ - Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, Herbert Smith LLP, and ILGA-Europe.


Accused murderer Sidney Nsubuga Enoch, a male prostitute, was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in prison on 10 November 2011 by Mukono High Court judge Joseph Mulangira. US activist Melanie Nathan, writing to 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".

Documentary film

Kato was interviewed by US filmmakers Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall for a documentary film on his life, Call Me Kuchu, which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival on February 11, 2012.[36] A short film using footage from the film, They Will Say We Are Not Here, was posted to the New York Times website on the first anniversary of his death.


Gay activist murderer sentenced to 30 years

By Johnson Mayamba -

November 10, 2011

Mukono High Court has on Thursday sentenced Sidney Nsubuga Enoch, 22, the man suspected to have murdered a gay rights activist in January this year, to 30 years in prison.

The 30 year sentence was passed by Justice Joseph Mulangira after Nsubuga admitted to have murdered David Kato 46, on 26th January 2011. This verdict was passed based on the evidence produced in court by the lead state prosecutor, Ms. Loe Karungi.

Prosecution led by Ms Karungi alleges that on 26th January, 2011, at around 8:30am, while the duo was taking tea, the deceased demanded for sex from Nsubuga. "The deceased started kissing Nsubuga and tickling him but in the process, a one Kizza Akram knocked at the door and the deceased stopped what he was doing," Ms. Karungi told court.

After breakfast, Kizza went away to the farm where the accused followed. They both uprooted cassava and Nsubuga came back leaving Kizza in the garden. "Nsubuga prepared lunch for Kizza and the deceased. After lunch the deceased locked the house and informed Nsubuga that it was time for sex," Ms. Karungi said.

This is the time Nsubuga told the deceased that he wanted to ease himself in the bathroom after which he would come back and have sex. "While in the bathroom, Nsubuga picked up a hammer, came back to the living room and hit the deceased on the back of the head twice," Ms.Karungi narrated.

Ms Karungi says that Nsubuga then dragged the deceased to the bedroom where he started picking items from the deceased's bag. The items picked included a camera, keyboard for a computer, T.shirts, shoes and a mobile phone. He opened the door, got out, and locked the door from outside. He then threw the keys in the gumboots that were outside.

It is also said that at 2:00 PM on that fateful day, Kizza came back from the farm and found the door locked and the music was playing loud from the house. After waiting for a while, Kizza inquired from the neighbors where Kato was and they told him that they did not know. They however informed Kizza that they had seen Nsubuga leaving the house dressed in the deceased's clothes.

This prompted Kizza and the neighbors to peep in the deceased's house where they saw fresh blood stains on the living room floor that prompted them to search for the house keys. Upon entering the house, they saw blood stains leading to the bedroom, where the deceased was discovered lying unconscious on the bed in a pool blood.

"They rushed him to Kyetume Health Center, from where they were referred to Mulago Hospital but the deceased passed away before this could happen. David Kato's body was then takento Kawolo Hospital for postmortem where they discovered that the deceased had been seriously hit at the back of the head," Ms Karungi noted.

The hunt for Nsubuga culminated in his arrest when he was spotted by Nakabago residents in Mukono district, who alerted the police. He was arrested and taken to Mukono Police Station where he admitted to the murder charges brought against him. Ms. Karungi then told court that the case against the Nsubuga was very serious and she asked court for a maximum penalty basing on the evidence that had been presented and that basing on the fact that the accused had admitted to the crime.

Efforts to reach leaders of gay community, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) were futile as they are said to be out of the country to receive an award at Rafto Prize Ceremony at Den Nationale Scene recognizing them for their struggle in the fight for gay rights in Uganda.

Kato’s death was condemned by both local and international human rights bodies including United States President Barack Obama, saying it was an abuse of fundamental human rights.

They called upon the government to investigate the cause of his death and speak out against homophobia towards the gay community in the country. The police issued a statement to the effect that Kato’s killing was no way related to his campaign for gay rights.


Gay activist suspected killer arrested

By Andrew Bagala -

February 3, 2011

A man whom police arrested yesterday on allegations of killing David Kato, a human rights activist, has reportedly told police that the deceased coerced him into sodomy.

David Kato, 46, an advocacy officer for the gay rights group, Sexual Minorities Uganda, was found with head wounds at his home in Bukusa, Mukono District but died on his way to hospital last Wednesday.

Police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba said the suspect had been hiding in Nakabago village, Mukono District. “It is true the suspect has been arrested but we need to record his statement first before giving a formal statement,” Ms Nabakooba said yesterday. But a police source, who preferred anonymity because he is not authorised to talk to the press, said the suspect confessed to killing Kato because he was reportedly tired of engaging in homosexual practices.

“We have taken him to Mukono Magistrate’s Court to record an extrajudicial statement,” the source said. “He told us that he killed Kato after he failed to give him a car, a house and money he promised as rewards for having sex with him,” the source said.

Kato is alleged to have bailed the suspect out of Kawuga Prison on January 24, where he been remanded on charges of theft of a mobile phone. The suspect told police that he stayed with Kato for two days. He accused the deceased of having sex with him and promising to pay him during the period.

The suspect allegedly told the police he got tired of having sex with Kato but the latter would not have any of his excuses. “The suspect said he left the bedroom, went to a store and picked a hammer which he used to hit him [Kato] while he was still in bed,” the source said. The death of Kato was condemned by the international community as an attack on the gay community.


Remembering David Kato, a Gay Ugandan and a Marked Man

By Jeffrey Gettleman - The New York Times

January 29, 2011

Nairobi, Kenya — It was late at night and totally dark when I first met David Kato. He had been described to me as “the most out” gay Ugandan and the country’s leading gay rights crusader, reviled by many, revered by a small few — but definitely well known. So I was a bit surprised when he suggested that we conduct our interview in an empty lot behind a disco, down a dark gravel road.

“I’m really sorry about this,” he said to me, sitting just a few feet away but barely visible. “This is Uganda, after all.”

At the time, December 2009, Uganda’s Parliament was considering whether gay people should be executed. A Ugandan politician had crafted legislation, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, after a visit from American evangelicals who advocated a program to “cure” homosexuality. The evangelicals later disavowed any intent to inspire the bill.

In fact, as soon as it was put forward, many human rights groups were forecasting what would happen next. They said that just the notion of the government’s seriously considering the death penalty for gay people would spur lynch mobs and spell open season on Uganda’s gays.

Last October, a Ugandan newspaper published a diatribe against homosexuals with Mr. Kato’s picture, and another, on the front page under the words: “Hang Them.” On Wednesday, he was attacked in his home during the day and beaten to death with a hammer. The police called it a robbery. Mr. Kato’s friends were emphatic: He was killed because he was gay.

However the investigation turns out, Mr. Kato felt certain that he had placed himself at terrible risk. That’s why we met in a vacant lot. That night he told me about his life — how he had gone to Uganda’s best schools, had become a teacher and had lived for several years in South Africa, one of the most progressive countries on the continent.

So I asked him the obvious.

Why come back to Uganda?

“We are few people who are out here,” he said. “Me, I’m a professional teacher, I went to nice schools. My role is to fight and liberate.”

He was a small man with thick glasses and thin wrists. He said police officers had broken his arm and cracked him in the nose after he held Uganda’s first gay rights news conference several years ago. He talked fast, constantly scanning the darkness. He struck me as clearly brave and deeply frightened.

Uganda, which Winston Churchill famously called the “pearl of Africa,” doesn’t feel like an especially intolerant place. Most people here seem free to say what they want, even regarding President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power 25 years straight.

But beneath the mild surface is an intensely strong current of religion. And in March 2009, the American evangelicals came to Uganda to discuss what they called “the gay agenda — that whole hidden and dark agenda,” and to assert that gay men often sodomized teenage boys.

Many Ugandans have told me that gay people, historically, had been tolerated in their villages. Perhaps they were looked at a little differently, but they were not viewed as a threat. But now, that had changed.

The Rev. Kapya Kaoma, a Zambian who attended the antigay meetings, said the Americans had underestimated the homophobia. “They didn’t know that when you speak about destroying the family to Africans, the response is a genocide,” he said. “The moment you speak about the family, you speak about the tribe, you speak about the future. Africans will fight to the death. When you speak like that, you invite the wrath.”

Don Schmierer, one of the evangelicals who visited in 2009, called Mr. Kato’s death “horrible” and said, “Naturally, I don’t want anyone killed, but I don’t feel I had anything to do with that.” He added, “I don’t spread hate.”

On Friday, Mr. Kato was buried in his home village. Several hundred attended, including a priest who told the mourners to repent. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill is still being discussed and may become law this year.


World condemns killing of gay activist

By Risdel Kasasira, Johnson Mayamba & Andrew Bagala -

January 28, 2011

The killing of a prominent Ugandan gay rights activist drew worldwide condemnation yesterday as the Uganda police moved to delink homophobia from his death.

David Kato, 46, an advocacy officer for the gay rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda, was found with serious head wounds at his home in Bukusa, Mukono District on Wednesday but died from his injuries on his way to hospital.

There were calls from the US government and the European Union asking the Ugandan police to “actively” and “vigorously” investigate the killing. A statement from the US Mission in Kampala said: “The United States calls on Ugandan authorities to actively investigate David’s murder and bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice.”

The EU statement read: “The EU Heads of Mission call on the Ugandan authorities to investigate David Kato’s murder vigorously and to ensure that the perpetrators of this terrible act are brought to justice.” Kato, whose picture was published by a local tabloid next to the words “Hang them” last year, was reportedly clobbered with a hammer.

News of Mr Kato’s death went viral on the web yesterday, following a statement by the Internal rights group, Human Rights Watch, which condemned the killing and urged Ugandan authorities to protect minorities, by deterring “threats or hate speech likely to incite violence, discrimination, or hostility toward them.”

“David Kato’s death is a tragic loss to the human rights community,” said Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “David had faced the increased threats ... bravely and will be sorely missed.” However, the police’s deputy spokesperson Mr Vicente Ssekate told journalists at a press briefing in Kampala that preliminary investigations had pointed to alleged robbery.

Robbery attack?

“The circumstances surrounding this incident have no indications regarding Kato’s campaign for the Anti-Homosexuality Bill before Parliament,” he said.

“It is therefore not true that his death is connected to his role as an activist in the Sexual Minorities Uganda.”

The Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura said in a statement yesterday that assailants hit the deceased with a hammer on the head. Gen. Kayihura said the victim’s neighbours claim they saw someone in a jacket and shoes that belonged to the deceased moving out of the house in a hurry. “After sometime, the inquisitive residents entered the home of Kato. They found the door locked but on peeping through the key hole, they saw him lying down on the floor,” he said.

Mr Ssekate said police were interrogating the deceased’s driver, Mr Arnold Ssenoga, and hunting for his houseboy who was still at large by press time.

Mr Kato was listed among a group of 100 people suspected to be homosexuals in the country by the local tabloid Rolling Stone. The tabloid’s editor Giles Muhame told Daily Monitor yesterday that although he sympathised with the family of the bereaved, Kato was a victim of his own “evil” actions. “He brought death upon himself. He hasn’t lived carefully. Kato was a shame to this country,” he said. Police detectives spent the day picking fingerprints and interviewing neighbours of the deceased.

Mr Ssekate said the police was taking the case “seriously” and asked the public to aid its investigations with any information that can lead to the arrest of the alleged perpetrators.

Fearless defender

“David Kato was fearless in his defence of fundamental rights and freedoms and will be a great loss to the global community of Human Rights Defenders and to Uganda,” said the European Union in a statement.


Ugandan Who Spoke Up for Gays Is Beaten to Death

By Jeffrey Gettleman - The New York Times

January 27, 2011

Nairobi, Kenya — David Kato knew he was a marked man.

As the most outspoken gay rights advocate in Uganda, a country where homophobia is so severe that Parliament is considering a bill to execute gay people, Mr. Kato had received a stream of death threats, his friends said. A few months ago, a Ugandan newspaper ran an antigay diatribe with Mr. Kato’s picture on the front page under a banner urging, “Hang Them.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Kato was beaten to death with a hammer in his rough-and-tumble neighborhood. Police officials were quick to chalk up the motive to robbery, but members of the small and increasingly besieged gay community in Uganda suspect otherwise.

“David’s death is a result of the hatred planted in Uganda by U.S. evangelicals in 2009,” Val Kalende, the chairwoman of one of Uganda’s gay rights groups, said in a statement. “The Ugandan government and the so-called U.S. evangelicals must take responsibility for David’s blood.”

Ms. Kalende was referring to visits in March 2009 by a group of American evangelicals, who held rallies and workshops in Uganda discussing how to turn gay people straight, how gay men sodomized teenage boys and how “the gay movement is an evil institution” intended to “defeat the marriage-based society.”

The Americans involved said they had no intention of stoking a violent reaction. But the antigay bill was drafted shortly thereafter. Some of the Ugandan politicians and preachers who wrote it had attended those sessions and said that they had discussed the legislation with the Americans.

After growing international pressure and threats from a few European countries to cut assistance — Uganda relies on hundreds of millions of dollars of aid — Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, indicated that the bill would be scrapped.

But more than a year later, that has not happened, and the legislation remains a simmering issue in Parliament. Some political analysts say the bill could be passed in the coming months, after a general election in February that is expected to return Mr. Museveni, who has been in office for 25 years, to power.

On Thursday, Don Schmierer, one of the American evangelicals who visited Uganda in 2009, said Mr. Kato’s death was “horrible.”

“Naturally, I don’t want anyone killed, but I don’t feel I had anything to do with that,” said Mr. Schmierer, who added that in Uganda he had focused on parenting skills. He also said that he had been a target of threats himself, recently receiving more than 600 messages of hate mail related to his visit.

“I spoke to help people,” he said, “and I’m getting bludgeoned from one end to the other.”

Many Africans view homosexuality as an immoral Western import, and the continent is full of harsh homophobic laws. In northern Nigeria, gay men can face death by stoning. In Kenya, which is considered one of the more Westernized nations in Africa, gay people can be sentenced to years in prison.

But Uganda seems to be on the front lines of this battle. Conservative Christian groups that espouse antigay beliefs have made great headway in this country and wield considerable influence. Uganda’s minister of ethics and integrity, James Nsaba Buturo, who describes himself as a devout Christian, has said, “Homosexuals can forget about human rights.”

At the same time, American groups that defend gay rights have also poured money into Uganda to help the beleaguered gay community.

In October, a Ugandan newspaper called Rolling Stone (with a circulation of roughly 2,000 and no connection to the American magazine) published an article that included photos and the whereabouts of gay men and lesbians, including several well-known activists like Mr. Kato.

The paper said homosexuals were raiding schools and recruiting children, a belief that is quite widespread in Uganda and has helped drive the homophobia.

Mr. Kato and a few other activists sued the paper and won. This month, Uganda’s High Court ordered Rolling Stone to pay hundreds of dollars in damages and to cease publishing the names of people it said were gay.

But the danger remained.

“I had to move houses,” said Stosh Mugisha, a woman who is going through a transition to become a man. “People tried to stone me. It’s so scary. And it’s getting worse.”

On Thursday, Giles Muhame, Rolling Stone’s managing editor, said he did not think that Mr. Kato’s killing had anything to do with what his paper had published.

“There is no need for anxiety or for hype,” he said. “We should not overblow the death of one.”

But that one man was considered a founding father of Uganda’s nascent gay rights movement. In an interview in 2009, Mr. Kato shared his life story, how he was raised in a conservative family where “we grew up brainwashed that it was wrong to be in love with a man.”

He was a high school teacher who had graduated from some of Uganda’s best schools, and he moved to South Africa in the mid-1990s, where he came out. A few years ago, he organized what he claimed was Uganda’s first gay rights news conference in Kampala, the capital, and said he was punched in the face and cracked in the nose by police officers soon afterward.

Friends said that Mr. Kato had recently put an alarm system in his house and was killed by an acquaintance, someone who had been inside several times before and was seen by neighbors on Wednesday. Mr. Kato’s neighborhood on the outskirts of Kampala is known as a rough one, where several people have recently been beaten to death with iron bars.

Judith Nabakooba, a police spokeswoman, said Mr. Kato’s death did not appear to be a hate crime, though the investigation had just started. “It looks like theft, as some things were stolen,” Ms. Nabakooba said.

But Nikki Mawanda, a friend who was born female and lives as a man, said: “This is a clear signal. You don’t know who’s going to do it to you.”

Mr. Kato was in his mid-40s, his friends said. He was a fast talker, fidgety, bespectacled, slightly built and constantly checking over his shoulder, even in the envelope of darkness of an empty lot near a disco, where he was interviewed in 2009.

He said then that he wanted to be a “good human rights defender, not a dead one, but an alive one.”

Josh Kron contributed reporting from Juba, Sudan.



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