Bangladesh Police Make 27 Arrests at Gathering for Gay Men

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Twenty-seven men, who were mainly students, have been arrested in Bangladesh at a reported gathering for gay men, The Associated Press reports. The arrests were made earlier today (Friday, May 19) at a community center and the men will reportedly be charged with drug possession after officials claim they discovered illegal drugs during a raid. The New York Times also notes that while police found condoms and lubricants there in addition to the drugs, the police did not charge them with homosexuality – a crime in Bangladesh – because they didn’t observe the men having sex.

While The AP is reporting that the students have been detained on drug charges, a Rapid Action Battalion official reportedly told Agence France Presse that these men were arrested on “homosexuality charges.” “We’ve arrested 27 people for homosexuality,” the agent said. “They are homosexuals. They held a get-together there.”

Homosexuality is illegal in Bangladesh, and the discriminatory law can reportedly result in a punishment of life in prison. As noted by The Washington Post, this law isn’t often enforced, but it is allegedly used by police to sometimes target LGBTQ individuals. Last year, the editor of the country’s first LGBTQ magazine was murdered, causing several other activists to go into hiding fearing for their own lives. Sadly, Bangladesh is not the only country in which LGBTQ relationships are considered illegal. A report issued in May 2016 by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association revealed that 73 countries currently have criminal laws against sexual activity between LGBTQ individuals.

Related: The U.S. Is Reportedly Denying Visas to Gay People Fleeing Chechnya

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