Derby men guilty over gay hate leaflets
Three men have been found guilty of a gay hate crime after handing out leaflets calling for homosexual people to be given the death sentence.
Ihjaz Ali, 42, Kabir Ahmed, 28, and Razwan Javed, 27, were found guilty of stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.
They distributed a leaflet entitled Death Penalty? at a mosque and through letterboxes, Derby Crown Court heard.
It is the first prosecution of its kind since new laws came into force in 2010.Islamic texts
Sentencing was adjourned until 10 February. Two other men were cleared of the same charge.
The court heard the leaflets showed an image of a wooden mannequin hanging from a noose and quoted Islamic texts.
The leaflets said capital punishment was the only way to rid society of homosexuality.
They were handed out near the Jaima Mosque on Rosehill Street, Derby, and put through the letterboxes of people's homes in surrounding streets.
The court heard the leaflets were made and used as part of a campaign to publicise a protest in response to the Gay Pride festival held on 10 July 2010 in Derby.
The men admitted distributing the leaflet but said they were simply following and quoting what their religion taught them about homosexuality and did not intend to threaten anyone.
Taxi driver Ali, of Fairfax Road, who the prosecution said was believed to be the main organiser and supplier of the leaflets, was found guilty of four counts of distribution, on 2 July and 4 July 2010.
Ahmed, of Madeley Street, and Javed, of Wilfred Street, were convicted of distribution in the area of the mosque, on 2 July.
Taxi driver Mehboob Hussain, of Rosehill Street, and Razwan's brother Umar Javed, of Whittaker Street, were both cleared of distribution relating to posting the leaflets through the letterboxes of homes, on 4 July.
The court heard that two other leaflets were also distributed and were relevant in the case to show intent even though charges had not been brought in relation to them.
End Quote Witness
Sometimes I wondered whether I would be getting a burning rag through the letterbox or if I would be attacked in the street”
The leaflets were called Gay - an acronym for God Abhors You - and Turn Or Burn.
One gay man, who gave evidence but cannot be identified for legal reasons, said he received the Turn Or Burn and Death Penalty? leaflets through the door of his home on two occasions.
He said the first leaflet, Turn Or Burn, made him feel "quite horrified" and it was after he received Death Penalty? that he called the police.
"They made me feel terrorised in my own home," he said.
"Sometimes I wondered whether I would be getting a burning rag through the letterbox or if I would be attacked in the street."
Ben Summerskill, chief executive of campaign group Stonewall, said after the hearing: "We're satisfied to see these extremists convicted for distributing offensive and inflammatory leaflets that suggested gay people should be burnt or stoned to death.
"Witnesses told the court they felt threatened and deeply fearful in their own homes.
"People from all communities will feel safer knowing that the law now makes it harder to stir up hatred and violence against gay people."