TEL AVIV — Israeli-Russian blogger Aleksandr Lapshin, who was imprisoned in Azerbaijan landed in Israel Thursday following his pardon and release earlier in the week. Lapshin was being accompanied by his mother, Bella Lapshina, on his September 14 flight to Tel Aviv.
Aliyev pardoned Lapshin on September 11 while the blogger was receiving medical assistance for what Aliyev’s adviser, Ali Hasanov, said was an attempted suicide in prison.
Lapshin was detained in Belarus in 2016 and extradited to Azerbaijan, where he was charged with for visiting Nagorno-Karabakh republic.
Lapshin was greeted at the airport by his family and Zionist Union Knesset member Ksenia Svetlova, who was involved in efforts to help the blogger and his family.
Israeli newspaper Haaretz, citing senior Israeli officials, reported that Lapshin’s pardon had come as a surprise.
The officials, who were not named in the report, said that it was likely Lapshin was pardoned because Baku authorities became concerned after he tried to commit suicide, and were worried he could die in prison.
According to the report, Lapshin’s legal representative told the Azerbaijan State News Agency that his client had tried to kill himself during the prolonged negotiations for him to be extradited to Israel. In July, he asked to be moved to Israel, where his family lives, and turned down an offer to be imprisoned in Russia