Accessibility links

Breaking News


British author and writer Stephen Fry at London's WorldPride parade last year.
British actor and writer Stephen Fry has called for Russia to be stripped of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi due to that country’s new antigay laws.

Fry, a gay rights activist, sent a letter to British Prime Minister David Cameron and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on August 7 asking them not to give Russian President Vladimir Putin "the approval of the civilized world."

Fry's comments come after Moscow introduced a law earlier this year that banned "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" and set fines for people staging gay pride rallies.

Fry wrote that "an absolute ban" on the Winter Olympics being held in Russia is "simply essential."

His comments came after Russia's sports minister said last week that the law would be enforced during the Sochi Games.

Quiz: Famous Gay Russians

Quiz: Famous Gay Russians

Start the quiz to find out!

Based on reporting by "The Guardian" and
The cards distributed by Tatsyana Ravyaka and Uladzimer Labkovich also contained information about Byalyatski's 2011 trial.
MINSK -- Two activists from the Belarusian rights group Vyasna (Spring) have been detained in Minsk while distributing cards with the photo of the group's jailed leader, Ales Byalyatski.

The cards distributed by Tatsyana Ravyaka and Uladzimer Labkovich also contained information about Byalyatski's 2011 trial.

The two managed to inform RFE/RL by phone about their arrest.

Byalyatski, who is the founder of Vyasna, also helped found Belarus's opposition Popular Front.

He was sentenced in 2011 to 4 1/2 years on tax-evasion charges that his supporters say were politically motivated.

The charges stemmed from Byalyatski's alleged use of personal accounts in Lithuania and Poland to receive funding from international donors for human rights activism in Belarus.

The U.S. State Department spokesman Marie Harf called on the Belarusian authorities on August 3 to immediately release Byalyatski and other political prisoners in the country.

Amnesty International has declared Byalyatski a prisoner of conscience.

Load more

About This Blog

"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.


Journalists In Trouble

RFE/RL journalists take risks, face threats, and make sacrifices every day in an effort to gather the news. Our "Journalists In Trouble" page recognizes their courage and conviction, and documents the high price that many have paid simply for doing their jobs. More