Though it has earned international notoriety for its public stance against gay rights, Uganda put its issues with homosexuality aside and sentenced the killer of slain gay rights activist David Kato to 30 years in prison Thursday.
Enoch Nsubuga admitted to beating Kato to death with a hammer outside his home in January. Nsubuga alleged that he was defending himself against sexual advances by Kato. The attack came after Kato’s name and address was published in a local newspaper along with other men and women accused of being homosexual under the headline “Hang Them.”
Both Kato’s family and activists are happy with the swift outcome, although some say that a full trial would have helped bring greater awareness to the dangers of intolerance.
"While it is unfortunate that the case did not go to trial so the full facts would be made public in front of members of the community, the judge has handed down a sentence that reflects the gravity of the crime, which is very important," Maria Burnett, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, told Agence France-Presse.
"We continue to urge the police to ensure the rights of the LGBT (Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender) community in Uganda are fully protected, and that perpetrators of crime are brought to justice fairly," she added.
Since Kato’s death in January, attacks against the country’s gay community have continued in earnest with many activist groups facing harassment. The home of LGBT activist Najib Kabuye was set on fire while he was trapped inside.
Uganda also considered a controversial anti-homosexuality law earlier this year, known as the “Kill the Gays Bill,” which would have made homosexual sex a crime punishable by death. Although the bill was abandoned, homosexuality remains illegal in the country as it is in 36 other African nations.
(Photo: MARC HOFER/AFP/Getty Images)