MINSK — Russian-Israeli blogger Aleksandr Lapshin was extradited from Belarus to Azerbaijan today, after exhausting his last legal recourse in Minsk to avoid extradition to Baku.
The Supreme Court of Belarus ruled on February 7 to leave the decision of the Prosecutor General’s office on Lapshin’s extradition to Azerbaijan in force, RIA Novosti reports.
On December 15, 2016, police in Belarus detained Mr. Lapshin, a popular travel blogger based in Moscow, for his prior visits to the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) and for his criticism of the Aliyev regime.
On 20 January 2017 the General Prosecutor’s Office of Belarus decided to have Mr. Lapshin extradited to Azerbaijan. An appeal to the ruling was recently denied by Minsk City Court.
Lapshin was met and escorted from Baku airport by the officers of State Security Service of Azerbaijan. The Prosecutor General’s Office has opened a criminal case against him on articles 281.2 (public calls directed against the state) and 318.2 (illegal crossing border of the Azerbaijan Republic), and issued an international arrest warrant for him. urt.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has called on Minsk to “unconditionally” release Lapshin.
If Lapshin is convicted in Baku, he could face up to eight years in prison there.