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Russian Teen Support Group Founder Charged Under Antigay Law

An online support group for gay, bisexual, and transsexual teenagers in Russia says its creator has been charged with violating Russia’s ban on “homosexual propaganda.”

The group is called the Straight Alliance of LGBT Equality.

It said in a statement on January 31 that its founder, journalist Lena Klimova, was charged Friday on the basis of a complaint from Vitaly Milonov -- a member of the Saint Petersburgs legislative assembly who sponsored a similar municipal ban in that city.

Milonov reportedly is demanding that Klimova be fined and her website be shut down under Russian federal law.

The group says Klimova was first summoned over the complaint on January 17 by police in her hometown of Nizhny Tagil. Her first court hearing is expected within two to four weeks.

The development comes ahead of the start on February 7 of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia -- an event that has led rights activists around the world to call for protests against the mistreatment of gays in Russia.