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The New York-based watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) says that, one year later, Russia’s law banning gay "propaganda" has served as a tool for antigay discrimination, even though Russian authorities have fined only four people for violating it.

The law -- passed unanimously by the Russian parliament -- entered into force on June 30, 2013. It bans the dissemination among children of "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships."

HRW says its research has found that the law’s adoption has coincided with the spread of violence and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and LGBT rights activists in Russia and a rise in homophobic hate speech by some Russian officials and public figures.

"This law openly discriminates against LGBT people, legitimizes anti-LGBT violence, and seeks to erase LGBT people from the country’s public life," said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

An Uzbek court has fined independent journalist Said Abdurakhimov for "spreading panic" and working without accreditation.

Abdurakhimov told AFP that he was fined the equivalent of $4,000 by the Tashkent court on June 28 for "working without a license" and spreading materials that threaten "public security and order."

He said the fine is equal to many times the monthly salary in Uzbekistan.

Abdurakhimov, who said he will appeal the verdict, said he was also ordered by the court to surrender his video camera.

Abdurahimov writes under the pseudonym of Sid Yanyshev for the Russia-based website.

The website is often critical of the Uzbek government and is blocked in Uzbekistan.

Abdurahimov was summoned by police after reporting on people whose Tashkent homes were demolished to build a highway.

Based on reporting by AFP and RFE/RL's Uzbek Service

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