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Jail terms handed to gay and transgender people arrested in Azerbaijan

Dozens of gay and transgender people have been arrested in raids in Azerbaijan's capital this month and some were sentenced to up to 30 days in jail, lawyers and activists said.

The arrests that started in Baku on September 18 "are the most extensive raids against representatives of sexual minorities in our country", Gulnara Mehtiyeva of the Minority Azerbaijan organisation said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Ehsan Zahidov said the arrests were sparked by complaints of "disrespect to others".

A lawyer helping to coordinate legal representation for those arrested, Samed Rahimli, said at least 46 people have been sentenced to 10 to 30 days in jail for resisting police.

Homosexuality was decriminalised in majority-Muslim Azerbaijan in 2000, but animosity toward LGBT people remains strong.

AP

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