KAMPALA (Reuters) - A man who confessed to murdering a Ugandan gay activist by beating him with a hammer has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the crime, a local newspaper reported on Friday.
Enock Nsubuga was sentenced by a high court in Mukono, about 20 km east of the capital Kampala, for the murder of David Kato, the Daily Monitor newspaper reported.
“The 30 year sentence was passed by Justice Joseph Mulangira after Nsubuga admitted to have murdered David Kato, 46, on 26th January 2011,” the paper reported.
Kato, one of the country’s most prominent gay campaigners, was beaten to death with a hammer at his home and died on the way to hospital.
The case provoked worldwide condemnation and drew attention to gay rights issues in Uganda. But police said Nsubuga was a “thief” known to Kato and the murder was not related to the victim’s gay rights campaign.
Homosexuality is taboo in many African nations. It is illegal in 37 countries on the continent, including Uganda, and activists say few Africans are openly gay, fearing imprisonment, violence and loss of jobs.
Before he was murdered in January, Kato had been featured in an anti-gay newspaper that “outed” people it said were gay and called on the government to kill them. Kato’s photograph was published on the cover under the headline: “Hang Them.”
Uganda drew international censure when an anti-gay bill proposing the death penalty for homosexuals who are “repeat offenders” was presented to parliament in October 2009.
Pressure from gay rights activists and Western governments later forced parliament to shelve the bill.
Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Duncan Miriri