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Supporters from some 40 human rights groups gathered for a vigil in New York Thursday in memory of murdered Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato, and called for his killer to be brought to justice.
"We're mobilising to bring attention to the government and people (in the United States) to homophobia in Africa and Uganda in particular," one of the activists, Charles Gueboguo, told AFP.
Homosexuality is banned in Uganda, which is mulling a harsh new anti-gay bill, which would usher in the death sentence for acts of "aggravated homosexuality."
Kato, who was killed last week, had become outspoken figure for the rights movement in the East African country, and was named and pictured by an anti-gay tabloid in a story carrying the headline "Hang Them," in reference to gay rights campaigners.
After the vigil the demonstrators delivered a letter to the Ugandan Permanent Representative at the United Nations, signed by leading rights groups Amnesty International, HRW and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, calling for Kampala to "immediately denounce David's murder."
The groups urged the Ugandan government to "thoroughly and impartially investigate this heinous crime" and to "prosecute the perpetrators to the fullest extent of the law."
Kato's murder has triggered a wave of condemnation from rights groups who criticized Uganda for ignoring the plight of gay people in the country and urged authorities to investigate the murder.
Ugandan police however Thursday said their suspect, a male prostitute, had confessed to the murder, and that it stemmed from reneging on an agreement to pay for sex. They insisted the circumstances to did not amount to a hate crime.
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