29 arrested in Bangladesh for attending secret LGBT meet

Dhaka: Twenty-nine persons were arrested in Bangladesh for attending a secret meeting of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender) community and consuming illegal drugs, a senior police said on Friday.

Homosexuality is an offence in Bangladesh, and those arrested in the raid conducted late Thursday in Keraniganj are now being interrogated by the police.

“They have been arrested for homosexuality and consuming illegal drugs,” the official told Efe news.

According to the official, the police were tipped off about the meeting leading to the raid, during which they recovered drugs and condoms.

The participants organised regular meetings through social media, he added.

Under Bangladeshi law, homosexuality is a crime and Section 377 of the penal code provides for sentences of up to life imprisonment.

April 2016 was a particularly difficult month for the community, when two leading activists from Roopbaan — an LGBT rights group in the country — were hacked to death by members of the Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS).

Over 70 people, including bloggers, thinkers, members of religious minorities and foreigners, have been killed since 2013 by extremists.

While some attacks were claimed by the Islamic State and Al Qaeda’s South Asia wing, authorities maintain they were perpetrated by Bangladeshi extremists inspired by these terror groups.