French Lawmaker Calls on Hollande to Secure Lapshin’s Freedom

Russian-Israeli blogger Alexander Lapshin detained in Baku on Feb. 7, 2017
Russian-Israeli blogger Alexander Lapshin detained in Baku on Feb. 7, 2017

Russian-Israeli blogger Alexander Lapshin detained in Baku on Feb. 7, 2017

YEREVAN (Armenpress)—Member of French National Assembly, Co-Chair of Armenia-France Parliamentary friendship group François Rochebloine in a letter to the French President François Hollande discussed the extradition of blogger Aleksander Lapshin as a violation of international law. The Member of Parliament wrote a letter to the President, noting that the reason of Lapshin’s detention and extradition was his criticism against Baku’s political regime and visit to Artsakh.

Underlining the fact of repressive activities of the Azerbaijani authorities, the parliamentarian in his letter called on Hollande to use his influence against the Baku regime to free Lapshin from Azerbaijani prison.

“With no means for a legal protection remaining, Lapshin was extradited to Azerbaijan and immediately arrested,” read Rochebloine’s letter.

“By extraditing Lapshin to Azerbaijan, Belarus violated the international convention against torture, the second article of which stresses that no state should extradite anyone to another state if it has substantial grounds to think that the person will be tortured. And this risk exists in Azerbaijan, since this country has been condemned several times by the international organizations and the UN over human rights violations. You should yourself assess this fact since you awarded Leyla Yunus with a ‘Legion of Honor’ medal, who obtained serious health problems being kept in Azerbaijani jails,” the letter continued.

The blogger was extradited from Minsk to Baku on February 7 after the Belarusian Supreme Court upheld a ruling by a lower court to extradite him to Azerbaijan, facing five years in prison.

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.

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