LGBTQI+ blogger arrested in Russia

Popular Russia-based LGBTQI+ bloggers Khaoyan Suy and Gela Gogishvili have been arrested in Russia for allegedly violating the country’s anti-gay “propaganda” law. The two men, who document their life as an openly gay, interracial, non-Slavic couple living in Russia on their social media channels, are accused of breaking the law with a video on their YouTube channel.

The couple now faces a fine of up to 50,000 rubles ($628) or arrest, while Suy also faces deportation from Russia. They were detained on Wednesday at a Burger King restaurant in Kazan after Suy failed to present his passport and registration documents during a document check.

The couple had been targeted by anti-LGBTQI+ activist Timur Bulatov in March and had since faced death threats and harassment. One of Suy’s professors at Kazan University had also threatened to report him to the police for violating Russia’s anti-LGBTQI+ law.

Russia expanded its controversial law against so-called “gay propaganda” last year to outlaw virtually all public expression and depictions of LGBTQI+ relationships and lifestyles. The arrest of Suy and Gogishvili has sparked outrage among human rights activists, who have called for their immediate release.

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