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A leader of Russia's opposition Left Front movement has asked for political asylum in Sweden.

Aleksei Sakhnin told Radio Sweden that he arrived in the country a month ago to avoid possible arrest in connection with the unrest on Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square in May 2012.

Another leader of the Left Front movement, Sergei Udaltsov, and a Russian opposition lawmaker's aide, Leonid Razvozzhayev, have been officially charged with the organization of the mass unrest, which investigators say was orchestrated by a Georgian politician.

The anti-Putin rally turned violent and scores of demonstrators and police were injured.

The opposition blamed the violence on police provocateurs.

More than 30 people have been charged in connection with the unrest.

Two individuals have been convicted and the trial of 12 others is currently under way.


With reporting by sverigesradio.se
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (front), who took over from his father, attending a ceremony to mark new water supplies to the city of Kurdamir.
The rights group Amnesty International has called for the "immediate and unconditional" release of Azerbaijani opposition politicians, journalists, and human rights activists imprisoned in what it called "a preelection crackdown on dissenting voices."

Amnesty said in a statement on August 8 that at least 14 new prisoners of conscience were rounded up ahead the country's presidential election scheduled for October 9.

Amnesty highlighted the cases of prospective presidential candidate Ilgar Mammadov, journalists Tofig Yagublu and Hilal Mammadov, youth activists Dashgin Melikov and Ilkin Rustamzade, rights activist Bakhtiyar Mammadov, whistle-blower Ilham Amiraslanov, and seven members of the pro-democracy youth group NIDA.

President Ilham Aliyev is running for a third five-year term.

Azerbaijan's opposition has accused Aliyev of concentrating the country's wealth in the hands of his family, and abusing human rights.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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