MINSK — The Minsk City Court has rejected on Thursday a bid to extradite Russian-Israeli blogger and traveler Alexander Lapshin to Azerbaijan, where he faces sentencing over what is claimed to be “illegal visit’ to the Nagorno Karabakh Republic (NKR).

According to Ria Novosti report, the Court chaired by Judge Lyubov Samikhina dismissed the appeal, after Lapshin’s lawyers had appealed to the court days ago to overturn the Belarusian Prosecutor General’s Office decision to extradite the blogger.

The hearings were held behind closed doors. Journalists were allowed in only during the proclamation of the court ruling. Photo or video shooting was prohibited.

Lapshin himself was present at the hearing and accepted the Court decision with a smile, the agency detailed. Meanwhile, the judge reminded that Lapshin may appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of the Republic of Belarus within 10 days.

Alexander Lapshin was arrested in December 15 in Minsk at the request of Azerbaijan that issued an international warrant for his arrest because of his visits to NKR, but also because of his posts, in which he expressed his support for the independence of the region.

Number of local and international human rights watchdogs condemned the arrest of the journalist and his planned extradition as an action directed against the freedom of press.

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