Group on trial over anti-gay leaflet
Five men from Derby, UK have gone on trial for allegedly handing out leaflets calling for gay people to be killed, in the first prosecution under new legislation criminalising such actions.
Ihjaz Ali, 42, Mehboob Hussain, 45, Umar Javed, 38, Razwan Javed, 27, and Kabir Ahmed, 28, are accused of handing out and posting the leaflet through letterboxes. The document, entitled "The Death Penalty?", claimed that gay sex is a sin that leads to hell and called for gay people to be given the death penalty. The leaflet also showed an image of a mannequin hanging from a noose
The men, who are all muslim, are accused of stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation. They deny the charges.
Bobbie Cheema, acting for the prosecution, said: "The leaflets you will see are not educational or simply informative. They are, we suggest, threatening, offensive, frightening and nasty."
"A word of warning," she told the jury, "this case is not about, and we must not make it about, an interference with the defendants' freedom of religion or freedom to express their religious views in an attempt to educate or inform people.
"The vast majority of Muslim, and indeed other religious people, or people with no religion but who have strong views about homosexuality, are able to express their views if they wish in a critical but lawful, moderate and self-controlled way. That's one of the rights we have."
The trial continues.
Date: 10 January 2012
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