Authorities in Bangladesh have arrested 27 men under the suspicion that they are gay, ABC News reports.
The suspects, mostly students in their 20s, were apprehended Friday during a raid on a Keraniganj community center outside the nation’s capital. Illegal drugs and condoms were allegedly found in their possession.
A commander of the Rapid Action Battalion, the police unit that made the arrests, plans to charge the men with drug possession, not homosexuality, because they were detained before engaging in sex.
The owner of the community center, where the suspects regularly gathered for overnight parties, was also arrested.
Although the law is rarely enforced, same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Bangladesh, lumped in among “unnatural offenses” punishable by fines and imprisonment.
Many members of Bangladesh’s LGBT community went into hiding or fled the country last year after Islamist militants brutally murdered activist Xulhaz Mannan, editor of the country’s first LGBT publication, and out actor Mahbub Tonoy.