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Lapshin is a popular travel blogger who visited both Artsakh and Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan extradited him from Belarus, whose president was very good friends with the president of Azerbaijan, despite international pressure, and sentenced him to jail. He was released after a number of months in jail and stories of horrible treatment, but remained unrepentant about his actions.
Azerbaijan Sentences Russian-Israeli Blogger To Three Years In Prison
July 20, 2017 11:07 GMT
By RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service
BAKU -- A court in Azerbaijan has sentenced Russian-Israeli blogger Aleksandr Lapshin to three years in jail, after convicting him on a charge of violating the country's territorial integrity.
On July 20, Lapshin was found guilty of illegally visiting Azerbaijan's breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh in 2011 and 2012 without Baku's permission, and calling for the recognition of the region's independence in two online statements.
He was sentenced the same day.
Lapshin pleaded not guilty, saying his visit to the breakaway region did not have any political motives and adding that he considers Nagorno-Karabakh to be Azerbaijani territory.
Lapshin, 40, who also has Ukrainian citizenship, writes a Russian-language travel blog. He was detained in Belarus in mid-December at Baku's request.
Despite Russia's objections, Belarusian authorities extradited Lapshin to Baku in February.
Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment on July 20 when asked whether Lapshin might be extradited to Russia, saying it was "not the Kremlin's issue." With reporting by TASS and Interfax
Minsk Court Upholds Russian-Israeli Blogger's Extradition To Azerbaijan
January 26, 2017 15:54 GMT
By RFE/RL's Belarus Service
MINSK -- A Belarusian court has moved the legal process forward on the extradition to Baku of Russian-Israeli blogger Aleksandr Lapshin -- who is wanted there on allegations of supporting the independence of Azerbaijan's breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region.
The Minsk City Court on January 26 rejected Lapshin's appeal against his extradition.
Lapshin now has 10 days to appeal the Minsk City Court's ruling at Belarus's Supreme Court, his last legal recourse to avoid extradition.
Belarus's deputy state prosecutor Alyaksey Stuk signed the extradition order on January 18.
Lapshin, who lives in Moscow and writes a Russian-language travel blog, was detained in Minsk in mid-December on the basis of Baku's extradition request.
Azerbaijani prosecutors accuse Lapshin of illegally visiting Nagorno-Karabakh and calling for the recognition of the breakaway region's independence.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has called on Minsk to "unconditionally" release Lapshin.
If the extradition proceeds and Lapshin is convicted in Baku, he could face up to eight years in prison there.