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ST. PETERSBURG -- A prominent Russian gay rights activist and journalist has asked for political asylum in Germany.

Artur Akhmetgaliyev is a reporter with the television channel 100TV in St. Petersburg.

He made waves with a series of programs about violations of gay rights in Russia, some of them after St. Petersburg city authorities adopted legislation criminalizing the distribution of gay "propaganda" among minors in 2012 -- the model for a national law signed by President Vladimir Putin last year.

One of the shows announced mock awards for officials it accused of supporting homophobia, including Putin.

Akhmetgaliyev has said that he has received numerous threats by phone and during public gatherings of the lesbian, gay, bisexuals, and transgender (LGBT) community.

Akhmetgaliyev and his partner, whose name was not revealed, have applied for asylum in Germany and are staying at a refugee camp there.

With reporting by
Mikhal Karnevich

HRODNA, Belarus -- The trial of an RFE/RL correspondent and three co-defendants is expected to open in Belarus on November 25.

Mikhal Karnevich, rights activist Uladzimer Khilmanovich, and two activists of the opposition United Civic Party, Ezhy Hryhencha and Vital Lopasau, are suspected of taking part in an unsanctioned public gathering on October 26.

The judge in the western Belarusian city of Hrodna on November 24 postposed the start of the trial by one day because of what she said was her busy agenda.

Karnevich says that on October 26 he was doing his job as a journalist, covering the public gathering in the southwestern town of Svislach -- a commemoration of Kastus Kalinovski, a 19th-century Belarusian journalist and political activist.

Karnevich has been charged with violating legislation on public gatherings in the past.

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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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