Russian blogger extradited to Azerbaijan


UPDATE (07.03.2017): The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) alert submitted on the detention of Alexander Lapshin to Council of Europe platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists. He is currently located at the Detention Center of the Baku Investigative Prison Nr 1.

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Russian blogger Alexander Lapshin, who also holds Ukrainian and Israeli citizenships, was extradited to Azerbaijan, after the Supreme Court in Belarus decided to send him to Baku despite the objections from Moscow.

The blogger, who is famous for writing about traveling, was arrested in Minsk in December on request of Azerbaijan. Lapshin is accused of illegally visiting Nagorno-Karabakh and calling for independence of the region.

Alexander Lapshin visited Nagorno-Karabakh, the disputed territory between Azerbaijan and Armenia that internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, in 2011-2012 and wrote several posts about his trip. Baku accused him for illegally entering the territory and banned him from traveling to the country. However, using his Ukrainian passport, where the spelling of his name is slightly different, the blogger visited Azerbaijan again in 2016.

The blogger might face up to 8 years in jail on the grounds of his trip and two blog posts, where he called for the independence of the region. OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović condemned the detention of Alexander Lapshin in Twitter.

Photo Credit: Alexander Lapshin / LiveJournal.