David Kato, Ugandan gay rights campaigner has been beaten to death, activists say. Last year, he sued a local newspaper which outed him as homosexual.
His death and the arrest of one suspect were confirmed by the police.
Uganda’s Rolling Stone newspaper published the photographs of several people it said were gay next to a headline reading “Hang them”.
In Uganda, homosexual acts are illegal and punished of 14 years in prison, and recently an MP tried to increase the penalties in order to include the death sentence in some cases.
According to the police there is no connection between Kate’s activism and his death.
The police also said that though they have arrested one suspect, the main suspect – who they say lived with Kato – remains on the run.
In Mukono, where Kato lived, there has been a recent spate of “iron-bar killings”, in which people have been assaulted with pieces of metal.
A men entered Kato’s home near Kampala and beat him to death before leaving, witnesses told the BBC.
According to his Sexual Minorities Uganda (Smug) group, Kato had been receiving death threats since last year, when Rolling Stone published his name, photograph and address.
Frank Mugisha, the group’s executive director, told the BBC’s Network Africa programme he was “devastated” on hearing the news from New York.
“He was killed by someone who came in his house with a hammer, meaning anyone else could be the next target.”
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called for a swift investigation into his death, saying that “David Kato’s death is a tragic loss to the human rights community.”
In 2009, he had campaigned against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill which provoked a storm of international criticism when it was mooted, which appears to have been quietly dropped.
Kato’s death “horrified and saddened” the US, said US state department spokesman PJ Crowley, who urged Ugandans to reject homophobic views.
“The US calls on the Ugandan authorities to actively investigate his murder and bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said.
In November, after a complaint by Kato and three others, a judge ordered Rolling Stones to stop publishing the photographs of people it said were homosexual, arguing it contravened their right to privacy.
Several activists said they had been attacked after their photographs were published.
Mugisha called on the Ugandan government to step up security for gay people.
“We’re strongly asking every gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgender person in Uganda to watch out for their security … [they] should take extra caution.”
The murder was condemned by Giles Muhame, Rolling Stone editor, who told Reuters news agency that the paper had not wanted gays to be attacked.
“There has been a lot of crime, it may not be because he is gay,” he said.
“We want the government to hang people who promote homosexuality, not for the public to attack them.”
In 1970s, “iron-bar killings” were common in Uganda when former leader Idi Amin was in power.