Three men in the English city of Derby have been convicted of hate crimes for distributing threatening antigay leaflets at a gay pride parade two years ago.
Among the messages handed out: “GAY – God Abhors You,” “Turn or Burn,” and a graphic of a wooden mannequin with a noose headlined with “Death Penalty?” According to the Crown Prosecution Service, the trial is the first prosecution for promoting hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation after a 2010 law outlawed such harassment.
BBC reports that the Muslim men convicted had admitted to distributing the flyers during Derby’s 2010 gay pride festival. They claimed unsuccessfully that they were not intending to threaten anyone, but rather pointing out what their religious teaches about homosexuality.
Ihjaz Ali, 42, Razwan Javed, 27, and Kabir Ahmed, 28, face prison sentences of up to seven years if convicted (a judge will sentence the men on February 10).
Last week, the court heard testimony from gay men who received the leaflets: One testified, "They made me feel terrorized in my own home. Sometimes I wondered whether I would be getting a burning rag through the letterbox or if I would be attacked in the street."
Read the BBC report here.