Four men, including three religious extremists who called for gays to be put to death, have been jailed in the U.K. for homophobic crimes in the last few days.
On Friday, Ihjaz Ali (42) was sentenced to two years in prison while Kabir Ahmed (28) and Razwan Javed (28) were both sentenced to 15 months in jail.
They were found guilty in January of stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation by distributing a series of anti-gay pamphlets in the city of Derby.
One of the pamphlets, titled ‘Death Penalty?’, was handed out outside their mosque in protest against a gay Pride Parade that was set to take place a few days later in July 2010.
The pamphlet, with an image of a dummy hanging from a noose, quoted Islamic texts against homosexuality and said that the death penalty – including burning and stoning – is an appropriate response.
“You have been convicted of intending to stir up hatred. It follows that your intention was to do great harm in a peaceful community,” said Judge John Burgess, when sentencing the men.
LGBT rights groups in the U.K. welcomed the sentences.
“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,” commented Ben Summerskill, Stonewall Chief Executive.
“This whole case vindicates Stonewall’s long fight to secure specific legal protection for gay people against incitement to hatred.”
The case was the first conviction under the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 which created the offence of intentionally stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation. The law came into force in 2010.
In London, another man, Mashudur Rahman (23), was jailed for eight weeks on Monday for spraying homophobic and racist graffiti in the Shadwell inner-city district.
He was found guilty on nine charges of criminal damage by the Thames Magistrates’ Court and was also fined Â£2,000 in costs.
During the trial, witnesses testified in court about the distress they felt due to the hateful nature of Rahman’s graffiti.