KAMPALA, Uganda -- An unknown assailant has beaten to death a leading Ugandan gay rights activist whose identity was revealed in a tabloid that called for homosexuals to be killed, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.
Witnesses cited by the rights group said the assailant forced his way into the home of David Kato near capital Kampala on Wednesday and hit him twice in the head. Kato died on the way to hospital.
"David Kato's death is a tragic loss to the human rights community," said Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher at HRW.
Kato was one of several activists who sued Uganda's Rolling Stone, which in October published photographs and personal details of lesbians and gay men alongside a headline proclaiming: "Hang Them: They are after our kids!!"
A judge ruled that the magazine should pay compensation to the complainants and ordered Rolling Stone to refrain from publishing such articles in the future.
"David has been receiving death threats since his face was put on the front page of Rolling Stone magazine, which called for his death and the death of all homosexuals," Sexual Minorities Uganda, which David advocated for, said in a statement.
Kato was also a prominent opponent of a bill that called for tougher anti-gay laws, including the death penalty in some cases. The bill has been shelved after an international outcry, although homosexuality is still illegal in the East African nation.
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