The UK has claimed major success in protecting lesbian, gay and bisexual community, with prison sentences being handed down for three men in Derby. They were found guilty of a gay hate crime, after handing out leaflets calling for the execution of homosexual people.
The BBC quoted Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer QC as saying: “This was the first case of its kind in British legal history and a significant step forward for us in protecting the LGB — lesbian, gay and bisexual community.
Ihjaz Ali, Kabir Ahmed and Razwan Javed were found guilty at Derby Crown Court last month, of stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.
The development is significant as this was the first prosecution of its kind ever since a law against perpetuating detestation on the grounds of sexual orientation came into effect in 2010.
Responding to the verdict, chief executive of Stonewall Ben Summerskill said: ‘Gay people in Derby – and their friends and families – will feel relieved to see these extremists kept away from the community that they terrified with their deeply offensive and threatening leaflets.
“This whole case vindicates Stonewall’s long fight to secure specific legal protection for gay people against incitement to hatred.”
The leaflet, “Death Penalty?”, was doled out in the build-up to a gay pride event in July 2010.
While Ali was jailed for two years, both Ahmed and Javed were handed 15-month sentences.
Handed out and put through letterboxes near Derby’s Jamia Mosque, the leaflets were termed in court as “threatening and nasty”.
The leaflets depicted a wooden mannequin hanging from a noose. It quoted Islamic texts and added capital punishment was the only way to rid society of homosexuality.
The three — Ali, 42, of Fairfax Road, Ahmed, 28, of Madeley Street, and Javed, 28, of Wilfred Street — had earlier claimed they were simply performing their duty as Muslims to denounce sinful behaviour in society.
Judge John Burgess said: “You have been convicted of intending to stir up hatred.
“It follows that your intention was to do great harm in a peaceful community.
“Much has been said during the course of this trial about freedom of expression, and the freedom to preach strongly held beliefs; beliefs, which may have some foundation in scripture.
“Freedom of speech is a cornerstone of democracy and a basic ingredient of any free society.
“Parliament clearly had this very much in mind when this legislation was passed.”