The men posted leaflets, with titles including “Turn or Burn”, “God abhors you” and “The Death Penalty?”, through doors and handed them out at a mosque, calling for the death penalty to be introduced for homosexuality.
Another leaflet that police found, entitled “Dead Derby”, described homosexuality as a "vile, ugly, cancerous disease" and asked the question "Gay Today, Paedophile Tomorrow?"
One witness, a gay man who was given one of the leaflets, and who cannot be named to protect his identity, told the court he "felt like I was going to get burned", adding: "I’ve never seen anything so disgraceful. It made me feel physically sick."
In the first prosecution of its kind after legislation covering hate crimes were amended in 2010 to take into account homophobia, the men are accused of stirring up hatred due to sexual orientation.
The court heard there were four different leaflets produced ahead of a Gay Pride parade in Derby, three of which were distributed. All were professionally produced and in colour.
One entitled “Turn or Burn” featured a blazing lake as an image of hell. The leaflet referred to the 13th and 14th centuries when, it claimed, homosexuals were buried or burned alive.
Another, entitled “God Abhors You – Gay”, warned of "severe punishment" for homosexuals and those who "remain silent about the evil."
The leaflet which formed the basis of the charges, entitled “The Death Penalty?”, featured a hanged mannequin and claimed that "Allah permits the destruction" of those who allow homosexuality and those who practise it.
The leaflet added that "the death sentence" had "already been passed on every homosexual" and that "the only question is how it should be carried out". Methods suggested included execution, burning, hanging or stoning.
The “Dead Derby” leaflet was not distributed, the court heard.
Bobbie Cheema, prosecuting, said: “Just consider also for a moment how anyone who is homosexual would feel to see that such material is being distributed in their street, to their neighbours who may or may not be tolerant of differences in lifestyles?”
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