Nikolai Alekseev, the Russian gay rights campaigner who was arrested at an airport in Moscow yesterday, is believed to be in Minsk.

Mr Alekseev, who is unpopular with Russian authorities for attempting to hold Pride marches, was arrested by border control police yesterday at Domodedovo airport after passing through passport control.

His whereabouts were unknown until today and several sources now say he is safe and well in the Belarussian capital.

According to LGBT Asylum News, his friends conveyed a message this evening which said: “We received a message from him that he is safe and in Minsk, we will know more from him when he can better communicate, probably tomorrow. We wanted to give you this update already and also to thank you for your incredible and huge mobilisation and solidarity. It paid off.”

Mr Alekseev was supposed to catch a flight to Geneva yesterday. It is not known why he was arrested or how he came to be in Minsk.

However, GayRussia.ru quoted Mr Alekseev as saying he had been told by Russian authorities to abandon a September 21st protest against homophobic Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov.

The quotes, translated by UKGayNews, added that authorities said police in Switzerland would be told “bad things” about him if he tried to enter the country.

The message relayed from Mr Alekseev’s friends this evening said that the protest next week would go ahead.

Mr Alekseev and fellow gay activists have attempted to hold Pride parades in Moscow in the last few years. Some events have ended in violence after marchers were attacked by neo-Nazis.

Marchers have also accused police of brutality.