Alexander Lapshin leaves Azerbaijan after being pardoned
YEREVAN, SEPTEMBER 14, ARMENPRESS. Russian-Israeli blogger Alexander Lapshin has left Azerbaijan, APA reports.
The blogger was accompanied by his mother, Bella Lapshina, as they boarded the Baku-Tel Aviv flight.
Earlier on September 11, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev pardoned the jailed blogger.
Prior to being pardoned, the blogger attempted to commit suicide, Azerbaijani media reported citing presidential aid Ali Hasanov.
Hasanov accused Israeli authorities in delaying Lapshin’s extradition process, mentioning that as a consequence Lapshin attempted to commit suicide on September 10. The suicide was prevented by prison guards. The blogger is currently under observation by medics.
Hasanov said that after the pardon, the extradition issue is dealt by both the Azeri foreign ministry and the Isreali embassy.
It is noteworthy that President Ilham Aliyev pardoned Lapshin on the same day when his defense minister Zakir Hasanov departed for Israel on an official visit.
The tourism blogger was detained in Belarus in 2016 upon Azerbaijan’s request. Azerbaijan had blacklisted Lapshin for his visit to Artsakh.
On February 7, 2017, Alexander Lapshin was extradited to Azerbaijan where a Baku Court sentenced him to 3 years imprisonment.
Charges included “public calls against the state” and “illegal border crossing”.
The blogger was found guilty for illegal border crossing under Article 318 – the infamous and illicit “law” which defines criminal proceedings for foreigners who visit Nagorno Karabakh “without authorization of Azerbaijan”.