Two men in Derby are the first to be charged under new laws against stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.
Razwan Javed, 30, and Kabir Ahmed, 27, were accused of handing out leaflets called ‘The Death Penalty?’ outside a Derby mosque.
It reportedly said that gay people should be executed and the pair are also accused of pushing it through letterboxes.
The pair were reportedly arrested after a tip-off from a member of the public.
If convicted at a crown court, they could face up to seven years in prison or an unlimited fine. They will appear before magistrates today.
This is the first time anyone has been prosecuted for inciting hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation, the Crown Prosecution Service said.
Sue Hemming, a lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “The charges relate to the distribution of a leaflet, ‘The Death Penalty?’, outside the Jamia Mosque in Derby in July 2010 and through letterboxes during the same month.
“This is the first-ever prosecution for this offence and it is the result of close working between the Crown Prosecution Service and Derbyshire Police.”
Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill said: “We welcome the Attorney General’s decision to allow this prosecution to go ahead. We lobbied for a number of years for a specific law to protect gay people, matching offences against inciting racial and religious hatred.
“Materials like the leaflets posted to homes in Derby create fear and inflame hatred and violence towards gay people. We uncovered a range of similar materials during our campaign to secure much-needed legal protections in this area.”