YEREVAN. – The case involving Israeli Russian blogger Alexander Lapshin contains a potential risk for the freedom of movement of Armenian citizens.
International law specialist and attorney Ara Ghazaryan stated about the aforesaid, commenting, at the request of Armenian News-NEWS.am, on the fact that numerous Armenian citizens also have visited Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh), and therefore, theoretically, they likewise may be subject to prosecution, just like foreign citizens that are on the Azerbaijani “blacklist” of Karabakh visitors.
“Azerbaijan is attempting to extend its jurisdiction on a territory on which it has no administration,” noted Ghazaryan.
In his words, even though Azerbaijani authorities are accusing Lapshin of several serious charges to “strengthen” their claims, it is apparent that they actually are guided by political considerations.
After his visits to Nagorno-Karabakh in 2011 and 2012, famous blogger Alexander Lapshin was “blacklisted” by Azerbaijan.
In June 2016, however, he paid a visit to Azerbaijan, but with a Ukrainian passport. Subsequently, he issued several articles criticizing the Azerbaijani authorities. Afterward, the Azerbaijani authorities issued an international search for this famous blogger.
On December 15, 2016, he was detained in the Belarus capital city of Minsk, and based on this international search.
Baku demands his extradition to Azerbaijan, for visiting Artsakh.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and US Department of State Spokesperson John Kirby, however, had spoken against Lapshin’s detention and such extradition, noting the importance of upholding freedom of speech.
On January 17, however, the Prosecutor’s Office of Belarus decided to grant the Baku authorities’ request for Lapshin’s extradition to Azerbaijan.
And Alexander Lapshin’s court appeal of the aforesaid prosecutor’s office decision will be heard on Thursday.