Lapshin Handed over to Baku After Minsk Upholds Extradition

Azerbaijani security forces grab Russian blogger Aleksander Lapshin when he arrives in Baku after being extradited by Belarus
Azerbaijani security forces grab Russian blogger Aleksander Lapshin when he arrives in Baku after being extradited by Belarus

Azerbaijani security forces grab Russian blogger Aleksander Lapshin when he arrives in Baku after being extradited by Belarus

MINSK, Belarus—Russian blogger Aleksandr Lapshin on Tuesday was flown from Minsk to Baku after the Belarusian Supreme Court upheld a ruling by a lower court to extradite him to Azerbaijan to face charges related to his travel blogs about the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.

The extradition occurred despite objections from Moscow, which wanted Lapshin to be sent to Russia.

Lapshin—who holds Russian and Israeli citizenship—was detained on December 15 by Belarusian authorities by Baku’s request for visiting the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic  in 2011, 2012, and 2016.

Azerbaijani security forces withAlexander Lapshin at Baku airport

Azerbaijani security forces withAlexander Lapshin at Baku airport

The Belarus Prosecutor’s Office decided on January 18 to extradite Lapshin. His appeal against the decision was denied by the Minsk Court on January 26.

The Artsakh Ministry of Foreign Affairs commented on the February 7 decision of the Belarusian Supreme Court, saying that it is a “flagrant” violation of freedom of movement and speech.

“The verdict of the Supreme Court of Belarus, which has upheld the decision to hand over well-known blogger Alexander Lapshin to Azerbaijan for criminal prosecution is not only an expression of outright support for the policy of intimidating foreign citizens pursued by the Azerbaijani authorities, but also a flagrant violation of the fundamental rights to the freedom of movement and freedom of speech,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Handing over Lapshin at Baku’s request reveals Belarus’s priorities of upholding political benefit over principles of justice, the Ministry continued.

Alexander Lukashenko, the President of Belarus, demanded Lapshin’s extradition to Baku, saying on February 3 that he should have been handed over “long ago.”

“It seems that a medal after Heydar Aliyev handed over to Lukashenko played an important role, and he promised to pay back and fulfilled his promise. In general, we deem the decision of Belarus court as scandalous, disgraceful, illegal,” said spokesperson for Artsakh’s president, Davit Babayan.

He says he is confident that Belarusian citizens do not support the extradition.

Regarding Israel’s stance on the Lapshin’s extradition, Babayan believes that Israel should suspend cooperation with Azerbaijan. “They can already see how Baku ‘repaid’ the supply of armaments to Israel. After all, it is no secret that the life of Alexander Lapshin will be under a serious threat in the Azerbaijani prison. Azerbaijan’s actions are first of all a challenge to Israel,” added Babayan.

Lapshin’s arrest and extradition process is being carried out with gross violations of international law and international humanitarian law by Interpol, he concluded.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Armenian National Committee (ANC) and Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) of South America delivered a letter to the Ambassador of Belarus in Argentina in protest against Lapshin’s extradition to Azerbaijan.

“We wish to convey our most sincere concern over the decision of the Republic of Belarus to grant the extradition of the digital journalist Alexander Lapshin to the Republic of Azerbaijan,” read part of the letter.

“As Argentine citizens and Armenians, we need to convey that we consider it extremely dangerous for Lapshin to be handed over to the Azerbaijan authorities, and we hope to be able to arrange a meeting as soon as possible so that we can discuss the matter.”

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6 Comments

    • hye said:

      Edward, don’t you think there was a blessing on this form mother Russia and Israel

  1. JOE said:

    Belarus is in the CSTO, the usless Russian fraternity make beleive organization of nobody important. Same Belarus that is corrupt and horrible human right violator that also recently claimed Azerbaijan’s ‘territorial integrity”. Armenia needs to distance themselves from this garbage country and from the CSTO as long as Belerus is there. That simple. How long would Azerbaijan be in group with any one country that works againt it? NOT LONG. Politically, Yerevan leaders are sometimes stupid and exceptionally weak. Time to cut the cord. If nothing else, as a statemet of protest.

  2. Hagop said:

    How can we Armenians take advantage of Azerbaijan’s crudeness and foolishness in this case?

  3. Aram said:

    Belarus is a puppet of russia. This wouldnt have never happen withour russia looking the other way. Oil always matters……..

    • hye said:

      Aram, right on spot. It is Russia’s plan. Russia wants Artsakh to be isolated, and this is to discourage media representative to go to Artsakh.

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