Sunday, January 30, 2011

In Uganda, a community in fear

From The International Herald Tribune:

In Uganda, a community in fear

NAIROBI — 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 anti-gay 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 U.S. evangelicals, who held rallies and workshops in Uganda in which they claimed that they could turn gay people straight, that gay men sodomized teenage boys and that ''the gay movement is an evil institution'' intended to ''defeat the marriage-based society.''

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/28/world/africa/28uganda.html

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