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Men 'handed out anti-gay leaflets'

A group of Muslim men handed out to the public a leaflet that called for homosexuals to be "punished" and given the death sentence, a court has heard.

The five men gave out the pamphlet, called The Death Penalty?, which showed an image of a mannequin hanging from a noose, said buggery was a great sin leading to hell, that it used to be punished by hanging and that people practising and allowing homosexuality would suffer, the court was told.

Ihjaz Ali, 42, Mehboob Hussain, 45, Umar Javed, 38, Razwan Javed, 27, and Kabir Ahmed, 28, are alleged to have handed out the document outside and near the Jamia Mosque in Rosehill Street, Derby, in July 2010, as well as putting it through people's letterboxes in the local neighbourhood.

All five men are accused of stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation in the first prosecution of its kind since legislation came into force in March 2010.

Opening the prosecution's case at Derby Crown Court, where the five men are on trial after denying all charges, prosecutor Bobbie Cheema said the case was an example of a hate crime.

She told the jury of seven men and five women: "The essence of this case will come down to this - an allegation of a hate crime, that these five defendants were part of a small group of men who distributed horrible, threatening literature, with quotations from religious sources and with pictures on them, which were designed to stir up hatred and hostility against homosexual people."

Miss Cheema showed the jury a series of three leaflets the men handed out, which included The Death Penalty? leaflet, and told them they would hear from witnesses who received them.

The two other leaflets were made and used as part of the campaign to publicise a counter-protest in response to the Gay Pride parade due to be held in Derby on July 10, 2010, she said.

She added: "The leaflets you will see are not educational or simply informative, they are, we suggest, threatening, offensive, frightening and nasty."

The trial continues.

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