Actually, the 7000 lashes is widely regarded in much of the Arab world as a merciful and compassionate sentence.
Gay men have been publicly executed in Saudi Arabia, where beheading is the primary method (much more merciful and compassionate than stoning which is today considered cruel and unusual punishment).
Critics have noted that, in several Arab countries where it is punishable by death to be homosexual, men are accused of homosexuality for political reasons.
Homosexuality is considered a grave sin. In Hadith, Muhammad clarifies the gravity of this by saying: "Allah curses the one who does the actions (homosexual practices) of the people of Lut," repeating it three times; saying in another Hadith: "If a man comes upon a man then they are both adulterers." Here, he considered homosexuality tantamount to adultery in relation to the Shari’ah punishments because it is an abomination on the one hand, and the definition of adultery applies to it on the other hand.....As for lesbians, Muhammad said about them: "If a woman comes upon a woman, they are both adulteresses." The homosexual receives the same punishment as an adulterer. This means, that if the homosexual is married, he/she is stoned to death, while if single, he/she is whipped 100 times.
Both men receiving the 7000 lashes were married (both might also be political rivals - activists), and so deserving - under Shri'ah - of death.
Had they been single, they might have appealed for a lesser sentance of only 100 lash's; something that is done quite frequently.