Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   24 October

Nagorno Karabakh’s Ombudsman says Lapshin case to backfire and increase interest towards NK


STEPANAKERT, FEBRUARY 8, ARMENPRESS. Azerbaijan won’t succeed in making the case of blogger Alexander Lapshin a legal precedent because its underlying argument is unacceptable for any state or institution having democratic nature, Ruben Melikyan, Ombudsman of the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh said in a statement, responding to the extradition of Alexander Lapshin from Belarus to Azerbaijan.

“By initiating the criminal prosecution of blogger Alexander Lapshin, Azerbaijan pursued a goal of silencing free speech regarding Nagorno Karabakh and intimidating people who desire to visit Nagorno Karabakh by forming a precedent.

After keeping the famous blogger Alexander Lapshin detained for over two month based on charges contradicting the very essence of fundamental human rights, Belarus extradited him to Azerbaijan on February 7.

Nevertheless, Azerbaijan won’t succeed in making the case of blogger Alexander Lapshin a legal precedent because its underlying argument is unacceptable for any state or institution having democratic nature.

Moreover, Lapshin’s case will become a reverse precedent – increasing the interest of human rights activists honestly dedicated to the ideology of human rights and reporters honestly dedicated to the freedom of speech towards Nagorno Karabakh. I urge the structures of the Diaspora and the Armenian journalistic and attorney communities to get involved in the process of making the Lapshin case a reverse precedent”, he said.

Alexander Lapshin, the Russian-Israeli blogger who was extradited from Belarus to Azerbaijan on February 7, has been placed in the isolation cell in Azerbaijan’s state security service, Ria Novosti reported.

Lapshin was flown to Baku from Minsk on a special flight, escorted by state security agents. A group of reporters were waiting for Lapshin in Baku’s airport, but Lapshin didn’t give any comment to them.

A news correspondent reported from the airport that Lapshin is in a serious mental condition and he didn’t respond to the questions of journalists.

The Belarus Supreme Court denied Lapshin’s appeal on the extradition verdict issued by the General Prosecutor of Belarus.

Lapshin faces up to 5 years imprisonment in Azerbaijan, under charges of “public calls against the state”, and “unauthorized crossing of borders”.

Belarus police arrested Alexander Lapshin on December 15, 2016 in Minsk. Lapshin, a Russian and Israeli citizen, resides in Moscow and writes for the famous Russian Travel Blog. He is wanted by Azerbaijan for visiting Nagorno Karabakh in 2011, 2012 and 2016, and criticizing Azerbaijan’s policy in his blog.

Baku demanded the extradition of Lapshin from Belarus.

Earlier it was reported that the Deputy Prosecutor General of Belarus has made a decision to uphold the request of Azerbaijan’s General Prosecutor on extraditing Citizen of Russia and Israel Alexander Lapshin, who is wanted for violating Articles 281.2 and 318.2 of Azerbaijan’s Criminal Code.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said on February 3 : “Belarus has no grounds to not extradite Lapshin to Azerbaijan”. He said the issue will be solved based on law and international agreements.

The Russian foreign ministry said it is inadmissible to extradite Russian citizens to third countries.




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